2 Peter 3:3-4, “3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
In our last article, we saw Peter in his second letter help the church recognize and stand against false teaching. He did this not only by describing false teachers and their heresies. He also aids his audience by helping them to stand against false teaching by helping them know the essential doctrines and predictions given in the writings of the Apostles and the Prophets (2 Peter 3:1-2).
In 2 Peter 3:3-4, Peter helps his readers understand the predictions of the apostles and prophets to help them have confidence that false teaching is no surprise to the Lord God. The prophets and apostles predicted that in the last day’s scoffers would arise casting doubt on the promise of Jesus’ return (2 Peter 3:2-4). 2 Peter 3:4 tells us that these were not innocent inquiries into the second coming of Christ by these false teachers. Instead, the teachers in question mocked the orthodox conviction about Jesus’ Second Coming and His return to judge the living and the dead.
None of this should surprise Christians today for Peter tells readers that the scoffing of false teachers is predicted in the entire Word of God. Peter has in mind passages like Malachi 2:17 where the prophet warns people that they have wearied the Lord by speaking as if the Lord is not concerned with justice. False teachers do the same today in these last days which is why Malachi’s warning is fulfilled and made all the more intense today by those who deny judgment while living under the New Covenant and are therefore more guilty of sin that those who lived under the old covenant.
Peter’s quotation of the Prophet Joel in Acts 2:16-21 shows that the entire time between the first and second advent of the Lord Jesus is to be regarded as the last days. Theologians call this the already and not yet of the Kingdom. Christians should not to be surprised by false teaching throughout church history, nor are they to assume necessarily that the spread of false doctrine in our own day means that Jesus will return in our own lifetime. The fact is, Jesus could return at any time, and yet the entire period between His two advents is the last days. Christians must not then be surprised about the rise of false teachers (Matthew 24:11) which are in every generation in the history of the church.
Christians should rightly be alarmed about the rise and spread of false teaching. With that said, we must never think that the presence of false teaching surprises the Lord God nor thwarts His plans and purposes. We should also never be complacent against fighting against false teaching. Today, please ask the Lord to increase your trust in Him so that you may stand firm in the grace of God and not worry when you encounter false teachers and false doctrines. Instead, keep studying the Bible and growing in your knowledge and skill in handling the Word. As you do, you’ll be able to spot sound teachers who preach the Word and to distinguish the bad from the good and to remain earnest in standing steadfast for sound biblical doctrine found in the Scriptures alone.