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False Prophets and Teachers (v. 1-22)
Just as there were false prophets, there will be false teachers who bring destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality and blaspheme the truth. In their greed they will try to exploit you with false words.
I wonder how you are supposed to tell a false prophet from a real one. Apparently they are sensual, that is one clue given here. Also they will try to exploit you, I wonder how much of their money they could extract out of you, maybe 10% of everything you make?
God knows how to rescue the godly from trials and punish the wicked until judgement, especially those who "indulge in the lust of defiling passions and despise authority". As evidence of this, Peter cites the angels who were cast down, the flood of Noah, and Sodom and Gomorrah.
I think it is interesting that these stories have been chosen as examples of how great God is, they are terrible and in I can't believe they are taught to children. Also, I think it is interesting that the two examples of wickedness that are given are related to sex and obedience.
These wicked people have done a lot of bad things, and therefore "the gloom of utter darkness" is in their future.
A lot of time was spent describing what they do that is wrong, but this seems to be the punchline, their afterlife will be utter darkness. Is this a precursor to our concept of hell? For the record, let's look at the things that these people have done.
v13 revel in deception and feast with you
v14 eyes full of adultery.
v14 they entice unsteady souls
v18 they entice the sensual passions of those who are barely escaping
So basically, they talk bad about God, they trick people, they like sex, and they are greedy. Tricking people is mentioned 3 times, the concern seems to be having people tricked away from their religion. It makes sense from the perspective of the religion itself, but you would think once a member notices this kind of tactic a red flag would go up. Why are they so concerned about losing members? Is this a problem they are having? If I stop a minute and think about leaving will it seem obvious that I should? Why are they setting up such strong barriers here? Which actually leads pretty well into the next item.
If a believer goes back to his sinful ways after coming to Jesus Christ, it is worse for him than if he had never known Jesus.
More of what I was talking about, trying to keep people from leaving the church through fear.
For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)
2:2 sensuality leads to blasphemy
"And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed."
2:9-10 lust and lacking obedience are the worst offenses of the unrighteous
"...and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority..."
2:18 bad people use sex to trick believers away from the faith
"...they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error."