“They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.”
(2 Peter 2:13-16 ESV)
As Peter continues his description of false teachers, we see another characteristic by which they may be known. In verse 10, of this chapter, he tells us that they indulge in the lust of defiling passion. And, in the above verses, he defines this in more detail.
These false teachers love to indulge the passions of the flesh. And, they don’t even seek to hide their indiscretions. We’re told that they count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They do so in broad daylight.
They celebrate their actions while, at the same time, they fellowship with the church. Although their rebellion is clearly seen, they join with the church. They participate as the faithful come together in a spirit of brotherhood.
They do so that they might entice unsteady souls. They lure those who are wavering. They seduce those who are not firm in faith.
Everything they do is for their own gain. Their actions flow from a heart of greed. Instead of living the life of sacrifice and unconditional love that was modeled by Christ and to which we are called, they seek only their benefit.
As we listen to Peter’s description of these false teachers, the danger they pose is clear. Even if we think they present little risk to us, the danger is very real. Like wolves, they prey on the weak, drawing them away from the salvation that’s found in Christ.
Knowing that none of us are immune to temptation, and knowing that we all have moments of weakness, we must be on the lookout for these individuals. We must not be arrogant enough to believe that we could never be deceived or lured into sin. As the apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
But we must also be on the lookout for the sake of our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Out of our love for Christ and our neighbor, we must stand against those who seek the destruction of souls. Knowing that they prey on the weak, we must seek to protect and to edify those who are targets.