Daily Devotionals

Forgotten War: Week 3 - Thursday

But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. 2 Peter 2:1

It is important to note that Satan is very clever when it comes to twisting the truth. One of the ways that our enemy has done this in the past and present is through false teachers. These are people who claim to have great wisdom and knowledge that add to, omit, or twist words of the Bible to benefit themselves.

This is not a new tactic for Satan. Twisting words is an old strategy that he has used for some time. In fact, Peter pointed this out when he was writing to the early church. He wrote that false prophets were in Israel all throughout their history, and they led people astray, into battles, or even to do detestable things in the name of God. Just as they were spread through the nation of Israel, Peter tells us they were also present in the early church. Peter suggested that they secretly move in and capture the hearts of the people while interjecting destructive heresies that deny the power of God. Heresy is not a word that we often talk about, but it is a type of thinking that is contrary to the truth found in the Bible. The best examples of these type of heresies are that Jesus was not God, that there are many ways to God, and that we can be saved through doing good works. Peter wrote a warning to the church to watch out for these individuals and gave them a strong reprimand for their behavior.

In that same way, we have to be on the lookout for those who twist the Bible to accomplish their own purposes. They may come with a beautiful message, or appear on a TV screen with engaging stories, but at times they are pedaling a plan that isn't consistent with what is found in the Bible. There are those with the perspective that followers of Jesus should be blessed financially above everyone else, freed from sickness, or even some that would declare they have a new revelation from God outside of the Bible. Unfortunately, some of these people are part of Satan's old playbook. That is why we have to be diligent to understand the word of God and the truth it is calling us to. We have to sort out the good from the bad and hold to the core tenets of our faith. We have to see the whole story when it comes to teachers, and if their lifestyle doesn't coincide with what they are saying on stage, we have to ask the question, "Is this part of the evil one's plan to deceive?" Just because you are in church doesn't mean you can leave the belt of truth at home. You need it at all times.

Moving Toward Action

How have you seen this type of deception in our culture today? Write out an example of where you have observed a false teacher who led people astray, then work through some steps you can take not to fall victim to the same effort. Pray for strength and eyes to see through destructive teaching.

Going Deeper

Read 2 Peter 2:1-22 (NLT)

But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.

For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. And God did not spare the ancient world—except for Noah and the seven others in his family. Noah warned the world of God’s righteous judgment. So God protected Noah when he destroyed the world of ungodly people with a vast flood. Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment. He is especially hard on those who follow their own twisted sexual desire, and who despise authority.

These people are proud and arrogant, daring even to scoff at supernatural beings without so much as trembling. But the angels, who are far greater in power and strength, do not dare to bring from the Lord a charge of blasphemy against those supernatural beings.

These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed. Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God’s curse. They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong. But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice.

These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”