“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” (Peter 2:1)
The Epistle of 2 Peter parallels the Epistle of Jude in describing and warning the church of false teachers or apostates. An apostate is a professing believer in Jesus Christ who ultimately denies the person and work of Christ along with justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
God’s people, whether in the Old Testament or New Testament historical context, have always had to deal with those who were false prophets or false teachers. The phrase false prophet (ψευδοπροφήτης; pseudoprophetai) refers to one who claims to be a prophet of God but is proclaiming what is untrue. In other words, a false teacher (ψευδοδιδάσκαλος; pseudodidaskalos) is one who teaches lies. Peter is declaring that as there were false prophets among the Jews there will be false teachers among those within the church.
What is the goal of false teachers within the church? Peter says these people “will” bring into the church community and fellowship what he calls “destructive heresies.” Destructive (ἀπώλεια; apoleia) means to ruin or destroy people, places or things. Heresies (αἵρεσις; hairesis) means false teaching or untrue doctrine. Therefore, false teachers seek to bring into the church teachings and doctrines which will ultimately bring ruin and destruction to God’s people or the church.
Their false teaching includes even denying the Master (δεσπότης; despotes) or Lord Jesus Christ who Peter says, set them free (ἀγοράζω; agorazo) or redeemed them, therefore bringing upon themselves swift destruction. Are these false teachers truly believers in Christ who ultimately lose their salvation?
Dr. R. C. Sproul explains that, “Peter is not saying Christians can lose their salvation (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:28-30), but is describing the false teachers in terms of their own profession of faith (vv. 20-21). By teaching and practicing immorality, they despise the Lordship of Christ and prove their profession to be false (I John 2:1-4, 19). They deny the one whom they have falsely claimed to serve as His precious possession.”
Dr. Sproul continues by saying that, “Though some take the phrase “the Master who bought them” to mean that Christ’s substitutionary death applies to all rather than to the elect only. Peter’s concern here is to highlight the responsibility of the false teachers rather than to advance a theory of the atonement. It was the false teachers claim that Christ “bought them” but such a claim is valid only for true believers.”
A true believer in Christ rejects any teaching or doctrine which seeks to undermine or deny justification by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. I urge you to remain faithful to the Scriptures and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Soli deo Gloria!