Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Recognizing False Teachers, Part 3

“These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 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. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”

(2 Peter 2:17-19 ESV)

As Peter continues to describe false teachers, he elaborates upon their deceptive practices. He tells us that they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping those who live in error. What he’s saying is that these false teachers target young believers, or immature believers, with the passions of the flesh.

They seek to convince these young believers that they can receive the salvation of God while, at the same time, they live in sin. They distort the freedom we have in Christ, they distort the grace of God, into a license to sin. They convince others that, because they are saved, it doesn’t matter how they live.

There are many who bring a similar idea into the church today. Because our salvation is in no way dependent upon our actions, because it is a free gift of God, they tell us that our actions don’t matter. They tell us that, because God is a loving God, because he’s a forgiving God, it doesn’t matter what we do.

However, these people are not living in the freedom won by Christ on the cross. Peter tells us that, even though they hold out this freedom, they are slaves. They are enslaved by the sin which has overcome them.

While we will not be sinless on this side of eternity, we cannot live in sin. We cannot be saved from sin while, at the same time, we surrender ourselves to it. As believers, we are called to a life of repentance.

We are called to recognize our sin for what it is and to turn from it. We are called to turn from our sin to Jesus. As our hearts are transformed by the grace and mercy of Christ, we no longer desire to indulge our sinful desires, but to follow the Lord.

For this reason, we must watch for those proclaiming cheap grace. We must be on the lookout for those attempting to entice us by sin. We must reject their message and faithfully proclaim the true gospel, which delivers us from sin and its consequences. 

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