Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation–as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:14-18)
The Sadness Of Error
When Peter was writing his second epistle he faced the sad reality of false teachers that were bringing their destructive heresies among God’s people. Satan has never rested in his efforts to malign, confuse, destroy and change the doctrine of the Lord from truth to his vile tonic of lies. What the apostle dealt with two thousand years ago is alive and well in our world today. False teachers abound. They flourish among multitudes of people who are deceived by their smooth words of scripture quoting Bible toting vibrant experiences of so-called spirit led worship. Predominate among the charismatics are the ploys of spiritual gifts deceiving thousands at healing services that are no more than carnival tricks of lies. Myriads of honest people are being taught the damning philosophies of error to their own destruction. Huge throngs of disciples blindly follow the antics of slick pressed con men (and women) who charm the world with doctrines of good feeling no judgment God is love dogma with no greater appeal than living anyway you desire lifestyles. Let’s face it: there is nothing more sad than the reality of what error is doing to the hearts of God’s creation.
The answer to error is found in our text. Peter lived in a world given over to false teachers but he exhorted the people of God to do a simple yet powerful thing: grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. The sadness of error is – it is unnecessary. The truth has been revealed in the word of God. As Paul reminded the brethren at Ephesus we have but only to read and understand what is written. It is there. Error comes from those who appeal more to the fleshly lusts of pleasure rather than the spiritual ideals of knowledge. How sad to stand before God in the final day and realize that truth was revealed in written form yet rejected for the antics of a false teacher.
Ignorance of scripture will bring about an eternal destiny of horror. There is a need for diligence to be found in Christ without spot and to be found blameless. Steadfastness is the clarion call of the hour to realize false teachers abound and every soul must be found faithful to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Growing in this knowledge is what defeats false teaching. Earlier Peter had admonished his readers to be mindful of the words which were spoken by the holy prophets and commandment of the apostles of Christ. Scoffers were coming walking according to their own lusts. Stay to the Book. Anchor upon the words of truth. Do not let false teachers allure the faithful away from the hope of salvation by a gospel falsely called. Error is real and error is destructive.
The greatest sadness of error is the final realization of hopelessness when it is too late to change. There is nothing more paramount to the salvation of the soul than to examine oneself whether they are in the faith. Not because of what parents have said, favorite preachers have taught, society has embraced or how I think things should be. It is clearly whether or not I am growing in His grace increasing in His knowledge according to His will. Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will be saved. Only those who do the will of the Father. Error brings sadness. Truth gives gladness.
Be not content to know the Truth; rouse your heart to love it. (B. W. Maturin, Self-Knowledge and Self-Discipline, 1905)