We have been learning about this category of person called the reprobate. The kind of false teacher described by Peter (2 Peter 2-3), Jude, Hebrews 6, and many other Scriptures. Peter says of such people:
These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. (2 Peter 2:17)
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:20-21)
These are not just any sinner, as we have been careful to point out in previous posts. Oh no. These are knowing, willful, evil people parading as Christians, motivated by greed, set out to mislead many and take them to hell along with them. Utter darkness has been reserved for them. Their place in hell is eternally secured. And they brought it all on themselves:
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. (2 Peter 2:1)
Anyone who refuses to acknowledge this category of person thereby refuses to believe God’s Word.
Now, I can hear another kind of objector. “Ok, so the Bible does say that there are people who are reprobate. But there is no way WE can know who they are. That is God’s business. We must never judge or even assume that someone is one of them. We must always pray for everyone and work our best to lead them to repentance and faith in Christ.”
My response? If we cannot discern who these false teachers are, then why in the world does Scripture warn us about them, describe them for us, tell us their very motives, and then call on us to put them out of the church? Pretty good question, eh? Let’s just review what Peter tells us about them:
- They operate secretly/covertly
- They actively “teach”
- Their message is heresy, and it is destructive
- They deny Christ, particularly making the cross unnecessary
- Their false gospel is sensual. It appeals to the flesh
- They are motivated by greed and a lust for self-glory
- They despise authority
- They have no shame – they revel even in the daytime
- They particularly target “unsteady souls” (Oh, hello there new young person. Come to my house and I will disciple you).
- They are very, very deceptive and able to mimic a sheep quite well
Want me to go on? I could by simply looking at other similar Scriptures like Jude. But just look at this list and ask yourself once more – If Peter did not expect us to be able to identify these evil ones as they creep in among us, if in fact identifying them is something ONLY the Lord can do, then WHY did Peter even bother telling us all this? Understand?
The reason God’s Word shines its light on the darkness of these deceivers is because by applying the truths it tells us about these wolves, we can see them for what and who they are, avoid being deceived by them, and put them out from among us.
And yet, what is the prevalent mentality and teaching in the visible church today in this regard? Don’t judge anyone. Only God knows. God’s mercy is infinite. God loves everyone. And on and on and on the formula goes. It is a teaching from the enemy. It is darkness.
Shine the Light of Christ’s Word on it and show it for what it is.