Buyer beware! Caveat emptor! These warnings ought to get our attention. But, how about the warning, “Believer beware”? This is Peter’s message; it ought not to go unheeded! “But there were [in the Old Testament era] also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers [in the New Testament era] among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” (2 Peter 2.1-3)”
Why did Jesus say to “…take heed how you hear”? Why did He also warn to “…take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness”? It is patently obvious that He warned as He did due to the very conditions that Peter, Paul, and John wrote about, namely false teachers who seek to deceive. These purveyors of error are but agents (wittingly or unwittingly) of Satan in his quest to deceive and destroy. In our previous message, this question was posed concerning Peter’s warning: “Specifically, what method would the false teachers use to bring in their destructive heresies?”
Words! Are they good? Are they bad? Are they neutral? Can they be misused? Can words be manipulated to suit the speaker’s purposes? Can people be manipulated with words? These questions and others become germane in view of Peter’s warning! Words are the things that God chose as a means of communicating with His creation! As such, they are the “stuff” that is used to convey truth! Should it be any wonder that Satan and his minions would seek to nullify the saving effects of truth by offering admixtures of truth and error? What if he were skillful enough to alter the truth ever so slightly such as to make the compromise imperceptible except under the most stringent observation? Would Satan stoop to such tactics? To ask the question is to answer it!
Greek! We even use the word in an idiom to express our lack of understanding of a subject (i.e. “That’s Greek to me!). However, not all Greek is bad. The New Testament was written in Greek and it contains some marvelous connections between then and now, connections which are too precious to overlook. What method did Peter say false teachers would employ? Read it again: “They will exploit you with deceptive words…” Words! But, not just any words; there is a modifying adjective. Their words will be “deceptive words.” The Greek here is marvelous! You probably know the Greek for word, i.e. logos. Learn the Greek adjective which modifies logos; it is transliterated plastos. The false teachers will use plastos logos. Literally translated, they will use plastic words! They will use words that are capable of being molded and modeled after their own liking!
Dear reader, please take note that plastic (moldable) words are the means and methods by which false teachers seek to exploit and deceive. God uses words to convey truth; Satan uses words to deceive and destroy. What could be more obvious? If the word of God saves, then reason would declare that the word of Satan destroys. But, who would willingly accept the word of Satan knowing that the result would be destruction? That, my friend, is the point here! No one in his/her right mind would willingly accept Satan’s word knowing that such would sentence him/her to eternal doom! But what if Satan could package his words such that they could be foisted unwittingly on unsuspecting victims? That would be Satan’s coupe de grace! “Therefore take heed how you hear!”
1. What means did God choose to convey truth to His creation? How does faith come (Romans 10.17)?
2. If truth is to be defeated by Satan, and if faith is to be damaged or destroyed, will words be involved? Why or why not?
3. What part should critical listening have in the believer’s life? Should we “believe every spirit”?
4. How could a person recognize “plastic words” without a standard with which they could be compared? Does such a standard exist? Is that standard internal or external to humanity? Who, of necessity, created and preserved that standard? Against what standard will we be judged (John12.48)?
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