But [keep in mind that in times past] false prophets emerged from among the people, as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly garnish [the teaching] with their destructive views, even denying the Lord who adopted them, bringing immediate demolition. And many will [be found] ready and willing to follow them in such filth and degradation and so the true path will be brought into disrepute. And by such desire for more recognition, with their well-constructed formulations they will consider you to be at their disposal even though the judgement on such matters is long since on its way and it is certainly not as though their eventual destruction has somehow avoided attention.
What has gone immediately before, asserting the honour and status that is the lot of the eyewitnesses to the glory and magnificence of God in Christ, is indeed heady stuff. No this is not about some elaborate literary fiction. This is not some cleverly devised mythology! But …
Peter's "BUT" is stark and clear. Jesus' disciples have to watch out; such deceit is, in fact, highly resistant to the Good News and it is manifest all around.
Peter's "BUT" is as incisive as a hot knife through butter. The law and the prophets are now put into a clear light. Peter knows what has been driving the message from whenever it was first enunciated - Jesus' own teaching (we noted the consonance of these two letters with the contents we have of the Sermon on the Mount in content, style and method (Matthew 5-7; Luke 6:17-49). That teaching has evidently woken Peter to the fake religiosity that is ever present, even among, we might as well have said, primarily in the midst of, those to whom the Lord God has come, repeatedly and persistently, to remind them of His love and long-suffering patience, His mercy and forgiveness.
BUT …. right in the midst of this repeated warning and Divine self-giving which was also the life and ministry of the "man of sorrows" …
…. right there where the Good News strikes home to deliver blessings upon the heads of those who think but poorly of themselves, the sorrowful, gentle, hungry, merciful, innocent, peacemaking, persecuted and abuse children of God's own adopted ever-extending family…
…. right there are the ravished, roaring lions driven by greed and jealousy, the devilish false prophets eager to make a killing to entice respect for their own self-declared pre-eminence. This is the way of it, says Peter. This evil is close at hand. Jesus had warned that for those who followed Him, their opponents would be right there, if not in their faces, then silently at their shoulders, trying to get a slice of the action to advance themselves, to cash in on the benefits.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had warned that there will be those whom He will not recognise when it comes right down to it - they are not and never have been His friends (Matthew 7:31-33).
This "BUT" had also been the teaching of the prophets and it is what they had to endure.
So, right smack in the midst of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the teaching of true redemption, we find His warning about false teachers (Luke 6:26) - they are recognisable by what their lives have produced (Matthew 7:15-20; see also Matthew 23:1-36).