(Vs. 1-3) This chapter contains a description of and warning concerning false teachers and preachers. They are described by their doctrines, their covetousness, their ways, their success, and their end.
1. There are false teachers and preachers in the Christian church Just as there had been false prophets among the Jews (Deut. 13:1-5; Jer. 23:16-17; Matt. 7:15-16; II Tim. 4:1-4).
2. These false teachers bring in doctrines that are contrary to the Scriptures (even denying the Person and Work of Christ, our Lord). All TRUE preachers will give Christ His proper place and glory, and all FALSE preachers and heresies deny in some way the redemptive work of Christ (I John 4:1-3). Weigh all preaching in the light of ChristHis eternal Sonship and humanity, His sovereignty and suretyship, His perfect righteousness and effectual sacrifice, His priestly work and intercession, His exaltation and second coming. Ail false preachers will either deny or diminish in some way Christ as Just and Justifier.
3. These false teachers are motivated by covetousness. Their goal is not the glory of God nor the good of the church, but their own gain, glory, and personal satisfaction. Not knowing or loving Christ, they can never lose themselves, deny themselves, or take up their cross and follow Him.
4. These false teachers' ways of deception are: (a) PRIVILY; that is, they come in secretly, under a disguise of righteousness, gradually, little by little, under pretence of truth, introducing their heresy. (b) WITH FEIGNED WORDSwords of their own choosing, cunning arguments, and logic, not words of the Holy Spirit, new and flattering words which have men's persons in admiration because of worldly gain. (c) MAKE MERCHANDISE OF YOUdealing with men's souls as a merchant with his goods. They care not for you nor your eternal welfare. You are but a means by which they enrich themselves with gain and worldly glory.
5. These false teachers are usually successful because MANY shall follow their corrupt, worldly ways. The road of error and religious idolatry is a broad way in which many walk. '94any will say to Me in that day..." (Matt. 7:22.)
6. These false teachers (with their followers) are moving toward swift destruction. Their heresies are damnable, for they will lead to certain damnation. God's Judgments are not asleep, and their foot shall slide in due time. (Deut. 32:35.)
(Vs. 4-6) God's Judgments against heresy, idolatry, and evil are illustrated and confirmed in these verses.
1. The angels that sinned were once pure and holy, high and honorable. They abode not in the truth but (through pride and covetousness) sought equality with God (John 8:44; I Tim. 3:6).
2. God spared not the world of the ungodly but destroyed them all in the flood of judgment.
3. God turned the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes as an example to all those who afterwards would live ungodly.
All of this is saying that God will punish sin. He will deal in judgment with the ungodly, whether it be the openly wicked who walk in corrupt evil or the false teachers who hide their evil pride and covetousness under a cloak of religion. (Exo. 34:7; Isa. 45:23-25; Psalm 73:17-22.)
(Vs. 7-9) Notice is taken in these and the preceding verses of the Lord's mercy in delivering the righteous, such as Noah and Lot, when wicked men are destroyed. (Rom. 8:1; Rom. 8:35-39.)
"The Lord knoweth how to deliver" those that fear Him and worship Him out of trial and tribulation such as Noah and Lot were exposed to. Evil may abound, false teachers may increase, and the true worship of the Lord may all but perish from the earth; but our God has a people who are chosen by Him, redeemed by His Son, and called and sanctified by His Spirit. He will keep them from falling (Jude 24) while He reserves, in His long-suffering and patience, the ungodly (to be punished) for the day of judgment.