But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3)
Peter described false teachers in detail in this chapter so that Christians would always recognize their characteristics and methods. The greatest sin of Christ-rejecters and the most damning work of Satan is misrepresentation of the truth and its consequent deception. Nothing is more wicked than for someone to claim to speak for God to the salvation of souls when in reality he speaks for Satan to the damnation of souls.
Peter’s point, though, is that Satan has always endeavored to infiltrate groups of believers with the deceptions of false teachers. Since Eve, he has been in the deceit business. The false teachers parade themselves as Christian pastors, teachers, and evangelists.
“Heresies” means self-designed religious lies that lead to division and faction. The Greek word for “destructive” basically means damnation. This word is used six times in this letter and always speaks of final damnation. This is why it is so tragic when a church makes a virtue out of the toleration of unscriptural teachings and ideas in the name of love and unity.
Commentary from John MacArthur