In this chapter the Apostle Peter describes the rise and fate of false prophets. He says that heresy grows concurrently with truth. As the truth of the gospel is more widely and broadly proclaimed, there is a corresponding increase in the willful perversion of it.
Deceit is a growth industry that is fiercely competitive with the truth. In fact, the misrepresentation or distortion of the truth of the gospel seems to be as prevalent as the proclamation of the true gospel.
While incorrect doctrine certainly disparages the truth of the gospel, the Apostle Peter declares that the truth of the gospel is also maligned by incorrect living. In other words, truth is denigrated not only by bad doctrine, but also by bad behavior!
So much so, says Peter, that some people who come to know Christ as Lord and Savior become involved in bad behavior once again even to the extent that their bad behavior is worse than it was before they knew Christ. Their bad behavior is exceptionally bad because they are doing it while claiming to be a a righteous person, while claiming to be a Christian!
Peter says these misbehaving, people would be better off never to have known the truth of the gospel in the first place than to have known it and then have turned away from it (vs. 21-22)!
May God grant us the wisdom and discernment by the indwelling Holy Spirit to recognize the difference between the truth and false teaching. And then, may God’s Spirit who dwells in us strengthen and empower us to demonstrate His truth in word and in deed, by saying the right thing and by living the right way, by proclaiming the righteousness of God and then living out His righteousness in our lives!
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. (James 1:22, NASB)