One reason why Peter thought it “meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance” (II Pet. 1:13), is because of the false teachers that abounded in that day (II Pet. 2:1). Peter declares this had been a problem for generations, and it is not going away when he said, “But there were also false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you.”
In times past, some have argued about what a false teacher is. Some said it had to do with a person’s bad attitude (If so, what about Jonah?). I have heard some say everyone is a false teacher since everyone makes mistakes. Is a false teacher someone who made a mistake and is ready to correct his error (like Apollos, Acts 18:24-28)? Let us allow Peter to tell us who the false teacher is. First, is this person promoting and preaching “damnable heresies” (II Pet. 2:1)? That’s a false teacher! How can I know when I hear a “damnable heresy”? Peter answers this question in II Peter 1:12-15. When my mind is saturated with God’s word, and I am reminded of the truth consistently, when someone says something contrary to what I have been taught in Scripture, I can know it is false (Gal. 1:6-9). This was one of the reasons why Peter wanted to safeguard the people while he was alive. The constant reminders would serve as protection against false teachers, those who were going to deceive the “unstable souls” (II Pet. 2:14).
Sadly, false prophets are not going away any time soon. Peter said they were a problem in the past as well as a current problem. We could say the same thing today. For as many as will tell God’s truth, there are as many who want to pervert it (Gal. 1:7). Therefore, let us make sure we know what God has said (Eph. 3:4, 5:17). Let us spend time studying and growing closer to God (Jas. 4:7-8). When we determine to accept only the inspired word of God in all of our faith and practice (II Pet. 1:20-21), then we are well-armed against the false teachers that come our way.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
When the walls of Jerusalem were erected, and only the gates remained to be hung, Israel’s enemies again tried to stop the progress. Seeing that brute force would not work (Neh. 4:7-23), Sanballat and Geshem tried a more “diplomatic” approach where perhaps they could get Nehemiah to compromise with them. They asked him to stop the work and meet them in one of the villages in the plain of Ono (Neh. 6:2-3). Nehemiah was not falling for this, and refused, even though the men hounded him for a meeting (v. 4-5).
When Nehemiah refused, Sanballat sent an open letter (Neh. 6:5) accusing him and the Jews of rebellion against Xerxes. Understand, an “open letter” was a form of insult against Nehemiah. Yet, when insulted, Nehemiah spoke the truth that Sanballat made up these charges. He then prayed for God’s strength (v. 8-9). He faced yet another test when Shemiah tried to get him to hide in the Temple under the ruse that Nehemiah needed to do this to save his life (v. 10-11). Thankfully, Nehemiah refused to listen and stood his ground with his people, again turning to God in this time (v. 14).
Satan does the same to us. First, he tempts us to give in to our lusts and sin against God (Jas. 1:14-15). If temptations that lead to rebellion do not lure us, then he uses other tactics, like compromise, to lead us away from the Lord. We see this in Matthew 4 and Luke 4 when Satan tempted Christ. When other tactics failed, he tried to get Jesus to compromise. If Jesus bowed and worshipped Satan, He would have the “kingdoms of the world”! He could avoid the cross altogether (Matt. 4:8-10; Lk. 4:5-8)! Why not compromise, Jesus? Isn’t this a way to “have your cake and eat it too”?
Compromise with the truth has been Satan’s tactic for years. He wants men to feel good about their partial obedience and then justify the behavior we want to do. For example, we might not yield to the temptation to be homosexual (Rom. 1:26-27), but Satan wants us to say we love others and will accept this behavior in others (ignoring Rom. 1:32). Similarly, we might not drink alcohol (I Pet. 4:3), but Satan says we ought not to condemn others who drink and exercise their “rights” in the USA. If someone takes a stand for truth and says that there is only one way to Heaven, through the teachings of Christ (Jn. 14:6), Satan’s minions will hound us and call us “narrow-minded,” and a “Pharisee.”
Yes, when Satan fails at getting us to turn from the Lord, he will try to get us to compromise. Friend, what will we do about this? What have we done? I hope we haven’t fallen into the trap of compromising with sin, but if so, know that there is still time to repent while we live (II Pet. 3:9; Heb. 3:7-8). If you need to be baptized for the remission of sins, then do it (Acts 2:38; I Pet. 3:21). Don’t compromise with false doctrine on this issue or any other! Take advantage of the time we have and do what God says without compromise or apology -- just like Nehemiah!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs