2 Peter: Catching the Counterfeits

Relevant reading: 2 Peter 2:1–3

What do “magic-eye” pictures have in common with false teachers? Both, in some sense, are counterfeit images—they fool us until we get a clear picture of them.

False Teaching

Although we may hesitate to label something as “heresy,” Peter has no such qualms. He urges us to be on guard against false teaching, because he wants us to be delivered from their deception. These counterfeit teachings seek to lead us away from the fidelity of truth to a “spiritual” faith that lacks the true gospel.

Our faith is worthy of defense, and we must be able to pick out the truth from among numerous false teachings.

Jesus comments on how we recognize false teachers in Matthew 7:15–23. We can know false teachers from their “fruit,” or their works. It may not be clear at first who is spreading lies, but the truth will eventually be made clear.

There are many clever forgeries that may fool us for a time. Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, distorting truth in order to deceive (2 Corinthians 11:14). This is no new strategy. It began in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3, and it continues today.

Catching the Modern Counterfeits

Heresies often repeat themselves, taking on new forms to trick us. Today, there are two new forms of heresies that seek to deceive us:

  1. The Prosperity Gospel: This modern heresy makes the claim that right living will get us exactly what we want; it is a sort of slot-machine idea in which we seek material blessing that God is obligated to give us if we have the correct formula.
  2. The Word/Faith Movement: The idea of this is that if you have enough faith, the outcome you desire will be sure to occur. It is the “name it and claim it” movement that presents God as merely a source of material blessings.

These heresies and others like them creep into our churches. They deny the inspiration of Scripture, the sinfulness of humanity, the sacrificial death of Christ, and the resurrection. While we may hesitate to condemn them, they are not innocent victims. Instead, they are committed to deceiving us and leading us away from Christ. Let us, then, heed Peter’s warnings and be on guard against them!

Watch part 8 of the series on 2 Peter. This teaching normally takes place Monday nights but is being taught virtually during closings related to COVID-19.

2 Peter: Catching the Counterfeits

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