For the church, difficult times do not consist of war, famine, disease, or calamity, but instead the wicked actions of false teachers. As the world becomes more worldly, the church must fight more fiercely.
Avoid [gospel killers]. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
In this passage, Paul transitions from the characteristics of a gospel killer to the deeds of those who represent the gospel killers. They are, more or less, the pioneers of evil and teachers of falsehoods. They aim to proselytize the church in order to gain more killers to bite back down on her. Here is how they do it.
Creep into Households
Few fall to the obvious killer. So successful killing is done by creeping—cloaking oneself to disguise the true identity. Paul says that they “creep into households”—not church meetings. They are after families. Wreck the family and you wreck the church, which is made up of families.
Capture Weak Women
Once the gospel killer is inside the home, he preys on the “weak women” in order to capture them by his dishonest charm in their vulnerability and need for God’s truth. They are like Satan, who in the garden of Eden won Eve over by imposing as a trustworthy advocate. But they, also like Satan, are advocates of evil.
Oppose the Truth
Creeping into households and capturing weak women is not an end in itself. They desire to gain loyalty in their effort to “oppose the truth.” Paul says that they are “men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.” He compares them with Jannes and Jambres, the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses and later instigated the worship of the golden calf (according to Jewish tradition).
It is no wonder Jesus instructed us to “beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15). They kill the gospel influence and work when they are given the opportunity. However, the gospel is never totally killed. These imposters “will not get very far,” according to Paul, “for their folly will be plain to all.”
We have a great promise in Scripture that God will guide us into all truth and reveal gospel imposters so that our families are kept safe. But we must abide in the gospel of Jesus Christ and be alert to the enemy’s tactics. He seeks to destroy the gospel influence, beginning in our homes.
Guard your homes by killing gospel negligence and neglecting gospel killers.