2 Peter 2:10-14
“But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceiving while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:”
After Peter gives a word of comfort to those who practice righteousness, he turns to those who walk after the flesh. He assures his readers that they will receive payment for their unrighteous deeds. Verse nine ends with Peter saying that God knows how to reserve the unjust for judgement and many translations, the KJV for example, punctuate the end of the verse with a colon. One of the correct ways to use the colon in the English written language is between independent clauses when the second clause explains or summarizes the first. This appears to be what Peter was doing with verses 10 through 14 in relation to verse 9.
These five verses summarize and explain who the unjust are that are that God reserves to the day of judgement. They are morally contaminated, despising the dominion that God has placed over them. This could apply to political government, and church government such as the shepherds of the local flock, but probably, it refers to the government of Christ. If one walks after the flesh as Peter says, then they would not take joy in the Lordship of Christ. They are very presumptuous, or daring, in their actions. The word for presumptuous is transliterated as tolmetes, and is very similar in meaning to the Greek word which is transliterated as tolmao. Tolmao appears in a passage I went over in Jude 1:9. Tolmao appears in that verse as the word ‘durst’ where we read: “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said the Lord rebuke thee.”(emphasis mine) Michael was not presumptuous, he was not daring as some brothers and sisters in Christ count these things as qualities to strive towards. They are self-willed, in Greek, the base of the word is hedone, which is where we get the word ‘hedonism’.
The dignities that these false teachers speak evil of probably refers to the majesty of Christ’s dignity. The way the word that is translated for ‘dignities’ occurs over 170 times in the new testament, 147 times as the word ‘glory’. Of course, if anyone despises the dignity and glory of Christ, then they would surely despise the varied types of authority placed in our lives be it in the home, or in the workplace, or in the assembly, or in the Oval Office. False teachers have a way hating authority of any kind. Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas for example, has spoken out vehemently against the U.S. government– to the point of preaching no gospel at all. This author freely admits that the U.S. government is not perfect; like all governments founded and run by fallen men, ours is imperfect and even corrupt. But as 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” We should not despise or protest against those who have authority over us but pray for our leaders. Instead of protesting at funerals of soldiers fallen in the line of duty, we should see this as an opportunity to pray for the families and preach the gospel.
The eleventh verse refers to something that I spoke of in a recent paragraph: the angels who are not so presumptuous as to bring accusation against them before the Lord. This verse also points out that angels are greater in power and might, and yet, they bring no accusation against false teachers when most people would.
Their demise speaks of them as wild animals, born for corruption and to perish. Their lifestyle shall be for them a means to a destructive end. God is no man’s debtor as the thirteenth verse points out. They who walk after uncleanness shall surely be rewarded for their acts. Their acts are known to all as they consider it a delight to indulge in their lusts in broad daylight. When an assembly has one of these kinds of professing believers in their midst, it puts a blemish on the whole flock. This shows a powerful example of what happens when discipline is neglected. Many elders have said that exercising discipline on a member of an assembly is the hardest part of their work as under-shepherds.
The apostate can not look on something or someone without lusting after it. Like the people that lived in Noah’s day, they can never stop sinning. They are quite good at enticing unstable souls. It is important for a believer then, to be stable, or steadfast, so they are not allured into sinful living. What should a believer be stable in? They should be stable in the word of God. Many believers are stable in performing good works and evangelism to the extent that they have no time for time in the word. It is not wrong for christians to be steadfast in evangelistic efforts and doing good. Our walk before the Lord if it is in love, is a sweet smelling savour to Christ. But if we are not studying the word, our feet are not on stable land. We can get enticed to engage in lascivious, questionable living.