Peter is talking with his audience about false teachers and how they will arise among the peoples of God. They will come in sneakily. They will come in and get people to follow them. They will cause the way of God to be blasphemed. They come in and they exploit.
He is also very clear about the end result for these folks ... they will bring "upon themselves swift destruction" and "their destruction is not asleep". This tells me that God is still in control.
That doesn't mean that the good people mixed in will be destroyed.... for proof of that we just need to see the examples of the Flood (Noah and his family) and Sodom and Gomorrah (Lot and his girls) and such like. As God's word says :
9the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.I suppose that's what these false teachers are really doing isn't it.... they are indulging in the "the lust of defiling passion" and they "despise authority". The ultimate authority being God.
How does God describe these false teachers?
12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.Strong language. False teachers are born to be destroyed. They have made choices that turn them away from God, even as they pretend to be of God. They are enslaved by their own corruption, overcome by their passions. I have to admit, there are people out their selling their 'religion' under the guise of it being the Christian faith. They make us look bad, but I don't really think about them too much. I don't have to listen to them. I don't have to think about them. I leave that to brighter minds than mine. But I have to admit, I've never thought of them as I really should...liars out to destroy the church simply because they think they can.
17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20For 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. 21For 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. 22What the true proverb says has happened to them: "The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire."
The bible makes it clear. These folks know what they are doing. They are caught up in it. I guess what I am disturbed by is the depth of it. These folks know that they are lying (yet you wouldn't catch them saying so). It's the magnitude of the lie that bothers me.... they hurt folks just because they can.
I know...I shouldn't be surprised by this. I know that the devil wants people to not follow after God. And that smooth as silk lying is an effective tool in his arsenal.... but somehow the depth of the lie, and God's reaction to it, is just disturbing me this morning. And I don't know what I can do about it. Or even if I should do anything. All I can do is be clear about the gospel that I know. Be responsive to teaching. Be willing to accept correction if it is called for. But just show forth what God's word really is. Is there anything else I should or can do you think?
I can take comfort in the fact that when God brings them down, when he destroys them and their followers, that he will separate out the godly from among them. This is God's job...not mine. Yes, I can warn people against something if I know it to be false. But I am not responsible for the actions of false teachers and what happens to them. All I can do is continue to point people to God's most holy word.