“For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.” (2 Peter 2:18, ESV)
“If a person today wants to gain a following, he does not put on a robe and go out into the streets carrying a sign warning about the end of the world. Rather, he buys a closetful of expensive suits, learns to speak with a rhetorical flourish, rents big arenas or builds big churches, and charges people big bucks for getting in on the show. And many people are swept off their feet by such an impressive appearance of affluence and power. Paul had to battle this problem in Corinth. False teachers, better looking than Paul, better dressed than Paul, and rhetorically more skilled than Paul, had invaded the church. Unlike him, they charged the people for their ministry. They seemed to be “strong”; Paul appeared “weak.” . . . We must not judge Christian leaders, teachers, and pastors by their appearance. We must not judge a Christian conference or seminar on the basis of the slickness of the advertising or the impressiveness of the facilities rented for it. We must not judge the content of a book by the artistry of its cover”
–Moo, Douglas J. (2011-02-22). 2 Peter, Jude (NIV Application Commentary, The) (Kindle Locations 3584-3592). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
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Whatever apostasy occurs in Christianity, it may never prompt us to question the unchanging faithfulness of God, the certainty of his counsel, the enduring character of his covenant, or the trustworthiness of his promises. One should sooner abandon all creatures than fail to trust his word. And that word in its totality is one immensely rich promise to the heirs of the kingdom.
It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11; Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30).
Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:6, 12) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28). The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16-18;13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31-32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10;10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9;Phil 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Peter 1:4-5).
In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:11, 20), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), he is to behold his glory (John 117:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).
Excerpted from Reformed Dogmatics 4.269-70 (paragraph breaks are mine) (HT: Kevin DeYoung)
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“There were also false prophets among the people,
just as there will be false teachers among you.” (2 Peter 2:1)
I am preaching through 2 Peter 2. Tomorrow will be our last message in this chapter which has dealt with false teachers. I was hoping to use this article from Colin Smith on 7 Traits of False Teachers which begins:
There are no “ifs, ands, or buts” in Peter’s words. It’s a clear and definite statement. There were false prophets among the people (of Israel in the Old Testament). That’s a matter of history.
False prophets were a constant problem in the Old Testament, and those who falsely claimed to be prophets of God were to be stoned. The people rarely had the will to deal with them, so they multiplied, causing disaster to the spiritual life of God’s people.
In the same way Peter says, “There will be false teachers among you.” Notice the words “among you.” Peter is writing to the church and says, “There will be false prophets among you.” So he is not talking about New Age people on television. He is talking about people in the local church, members of a local congregation.
There is no such thing as a pure church this side of heaven. You will never find it. The wheat and the tares grow together. Warren Wiersbe writes:
Satan is the counterfeiter. . . . He has a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), preached by false ministers (2 Corinthians 11:13-12), producing false Christians (2 Corinthians 11:26). . . . Satan plants his counterfeits wherever God plants true believers (Matthew 13:38).
Colin goes on to mention several distinctions between false teachers and genuine believers. Take a look so that you can identify counterfeit believers more readily.
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