I have a friend that has jokingly said to me a few times, (paraphrase) "If you hadn't told me the Truth I would have been better off." The point he was basically making (tongue in cheek) was that he is, now, not free to go about sinning because he has received the knowledge of the Truth. Whereas he is not quoting 2 Peter chapter 2 in its right context, he is still correct; we cannot continue in sin and think that we belong to Jesus Christ. That being said, 2 Peter chapter 2 is referring to false teachers when it talks about their condition being worse than the first:
2Peter 2:20-21 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
Whether you end up in hell because you have rejected the Gospel, ignored the Gospel, or are hostile to the Gospel; in either case, hell is horrific beyond our imagination. However, Peter makes it clear that there are different levels of severity in hell and the worst of these is reserved for false teachers:
2Peter 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
We should not be surprised to see false teaching running rampant in the world; we are warned over and over again that this will happen, and will get worse:
2Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
Not only should we not be surprised by false teachers, we should not be surprised by those that follow their teaching:
2Peter 2:2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
God gave us His Word so we may know the Truth, yet there are religions, philosophies and doctrine that contradict God's Word and people continue to drink it up like water; only this water is laced with poison and IS NOT Living Water. As I write this I can't help but think of Mormonism, Jehovah's Witness, the Emergent Church, the ELCA Lutheran Churches, and Catholicism; just to name a few. The preachers at these churches are preaching another gospel and lest they repent, they will be accursed:
Galatians 1:6-7 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. :8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
One of the more troubling things about the few false teaching churches mentioned above is the fact that all of them will use the name of Jesus. All of them will call themselves Christian, which allows the deception to run deeper than someone that simply rejects the Gospel.
For example: Mormonism and Jehovah's Witness deny the Deity of Jesus Christ. The Emergent church loves to present “fine sounding arguments” and make suggestions that seem reasonable, yet are not based in Scripture. In addition, there are many Emergents that (although it be subtle) allude to the idea of Universalism, which is the doctrine that says, “all end up in Heaven, there are just different routes to get there”; even though Jesus clearly said He is the only Way. The ELCA wing of the Lutheran church has determined that there are parts of Scripture they have the latitude to leave out, even though God's Word says ALL SCRIPTURE is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” In addition, the ELCA Lutheran church will not call sinners to repentance, they instead use silly terms like “carnal Christian” suggesting that we can continue in sin, after all, we are covered by Grace. Lastly, Catholicism (like many other religions) add to the work of The Cross by teaching that we are saved through Christ PLUS works. Clearly offending God by suggesting that there is something we can do to earn (at least in part) our salvation.
I have only touched on the false teaching of the ones listed above. And I only scratched the surface of the false religions in the world. The ultimate point is, we need to be aware of these false teaching churches. A logical question you may be asking is, “what makes you right?” or “what makes you think you know the Truth and all these other religions are wrong?” Answer: God's Word. Do not believe a thing I say without checking it out for yourself. God's Word is Truth, God's Word has been protected, God's Word is reliable, and God's Word provides us with the Way of Eternal Life.
I would further add, you need to be in constant study of God's Word so you can recognize false teaching. For example, when someone says, “people may have another opportunity to receive Christ after they die”; you can know that the Word says:
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
When someone says that hell is just a state of mind and is not a real place you can know that the Word says:
2Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;
Luke 12:5 (Words of Jesus) But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
Mark 9:47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire—
Matthew 23:15 (Words of Jesus) "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
Matthew 23:33 (Words of Jesus) Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?
Interestingly enough, in Matthew 23 Jesus is talking to the most religious people of the day.
I understand that much of what I have just wrote may seem hard-core to many people. Some may even say, “who are you to judge”. I would just say that I am not judging anyone, but as the Word says, “you will know them by their fruit”....I am only sharing with you some of the fruit that has been produced by false teachers. As Paul told some of his readers, “have I now become your enemy by telling you the Truth.”
I would encourage you, in the most loving way possible, if you are in a false teaching church, get out. If you are staying in a church because “that's where I grew up” and it is a false teaching church, you still need to get out. God calls His people to come out of the false teaching churches:
Revelation 18:3-5 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury." 4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.