As the second chapter of Peter’s second letter opens, Peter identifies individuals who would “secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words…” (2 Peter 2:1-3). These are the words with which Peter compares his previous thought regarding the words of God. Sadly, we see this type of behavior in our world today. Even within our community we see individuals and groups seeking to draw people to themselves. Often this is couched in terms of “deeper spiritual growth” or “an effort to be relevant”. So, through snappy speech filled with legalese, many are drawn to teachings that have no basis in the Word of God.
Peter is writing his second letter near the end of his life. He knows that his time on this earth is short and desires to share with his reader some important reminders. So why remind the people of this? Why remind them that people will arise seeking to draw people away from what God has actually said? Because he understands the nature of humanity. While there is a call for all disciples of Jesus to follow the example of Christ, Peter knows not all followers will. He knows the reality of self-centeredness and selfishness. Peter wants his reader to be always aware of the seduction and sensuality of words intended to be deceptive. That’s a reminder for us even today. We must be ever aware of those who would pervert the message given by God for the sake of their own gain. We must cling to God’s Word. And we must always remember, “that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). We must follow God’s Word and God’s Word alone.