Thursday, 6 February 2020
…having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 2 Peter 2:14
Peter continues on with his lengthy list as he describes the traits of false teachers. He now says they are “having eyes full of adultery.” The eyes can be used in various ways. Two in particular should be defined. First, they can be used to allow in the objects of lust such as Job spoke of –
“I have made a covenant with my eyes;
Why then should I look upon a young woman?”
They can also be used as objects of lust –
“Do not lust after her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.” Proverbs 6:25
The heart is where the root of adultery lies, but the eyes are where the adultery is watered. From there, it blossoms and takes over the mind. Therefore, to avert the eyes from that which is enticing will then deprive the condition from what it needs to grow. What is probably most on Peter’s mind is the second example from Proverbs. The reason for this is that he uses a noun. It literally says, “of an adulteress.”
Because of this, they “cannot cease from sin.” Their eyes reflect their nature, it is a nature which is in the Greek literally means “unceasing from sin.” Like the whore who flashes her eyes and captures the wandering sheep, taking him to slaughter, so the false teachers do to their unsuspecting victims. Peter says they are “enticing unstable souls.”
The thought is comparable to what Paul said to Timothy –
“For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts.” 2 Timothy 3:6
Whether a gullible woman or an unstable soul, the false teachers and wicked people of the world know how to control others with their unholy schemes and intents. People who are lacking discernment are ripe pickings for those who know how to mislead others. By saying the right things, things which sound correct, but which are twisted and unscriptural, false teachers lead many astray. And it is so easy for them, because “they have a heart trained in covetous practices.”
It speaks of the state of the individual false teacher, but which represents them all. The heart has been conditionally allowed to covet, being left completely unrestrained. Because of this, it has become their very nature to seek after that which the heart covets.
The word Peter uses is gumnazó. It is the root of our modern word “gymnastics.” It signifies training with full effort, using all of the physical and emotional force one can muster. With such an attitude, the actions follow suit, seducing others to appease the fleshly lusts which arise in them. In this, Peter says they are “accursed children.” Here Peter uses two nouns, literally saying, “children of a curse.” It reflects the state in which they exist. Just as Paul says those under the law are “under a curse,” so these false teachers exist in such a sphere. They have not come to the grace of God in Christ, and thus they remain in the realm of a curse.
Life application: It is shameful to hear about televangelists who preach “prosperity” for those who send money to their ministries, telling them that a “financial breakthrough” will come from their obedient and sacrificial giving. Unfortunately, those who fall for this are often those who are in rough times already. If things were going well, they wouldn’t be worried about a financial breakthrough.
Eventually, these supposed ministers are exposed through lavish living – large houses, expensive cars, fashion clothing, etc. There is no sense of decency or morality in their lives. They have profited by enticing unstable souls. Regardless of how they appear to those following them, the Lord reads their thoughts and the motives of their hearts. Destruction and hell will be their reward unless they correct the unholy path they are following.
Take the time to look into the lifestyle of those you intend to follow before, not after, you start giving. What is being taught here isn’t unique to Christianity. Rather, even the secular world – both in ancient times and today – understands the attitude addressed here. As Homer said in the Iliad, “Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”
If we simply look at actions, rather than flowery speeches, we can discern the truth. Inspect the politicians you choose, not on what they say, but on what they do. Be discerning in the leaders you look to for your government, your business, and especially your spiritual life.
Lord, keep us from those who are bent on evil gain at our expense. Guide us to sound leaders who properly handle the word of truth. May those who lead our government, our financial institutions, and our churches be held accountable when they covetously strive to prosper at the expense of those who trust in them. Amen.