Knowing the Way
2 Peter 2:12-22
They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. [2 Peter 2:15]
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” [John 14:6] This is an exclusive statement. It excludes all other ways to heaven except the way of Jesus. This is also an offensive statement, and many are offended by it. “You mean the Christian way is the only way,” they ask. Our response, if we are true to Scripture, must be an emphatic “Yes.” They are the very words of Jesus. If offense is taken, it is toward Jesus because they are His words.
Interestingly enough, our text this morning describes a people who have actually received the words of Christ but then at the hearing of a heretic decide another way; “the way of Balaam.” To understand “the way of Balaam” we need to read Numbers 22-24. Balaam’s way was seduction. He seduced Israel’s men to fornicate with foreign women so they would worship their pagan deities [see specifically Numbers 31:16]. Israel therefore forsook the right way and went astray, following Balaam who “loved the wages of unrighteousness.” You see, a false teacher loves wages [he loves a profit] but those wages are seeded in unrighteousness. A false teacher will get paid a hefty salary at the expense of his hearers’ souls. He will feed upon misguided sincerity.
We must remember that truth has nothing to do with sincerity! One can be sincere and yet be sincerely wrong. It’s not that our relationship with God doesn’t involve feelings and sincerity. We are created in God’s image with feelings and emotions. Jesus, too, had feelings and emotions; but He didn’t live by them. Jesus said “I am the bread of life” and then fed 5000 men with a handful of fish and barely loaves. He said “I am the resurrection and the life” and then raised Lazarus from the tomb. His subjective words were ratified by objective deeds. Anyone can say anything [as do the false teachers] but only One could do the works that Jesus did!
Remember, the key theme in this Epistle is knowledge. This involves objective and subjective knowledge, i.e., knowing of Him [through the study of His word] and the knowing Him through a personal relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit. Remember, too, that knowing Jesus in these ways aids us in identifying the counterfeit.