2 Peter 2:13-22
Greetings, everyone! Welcome to Thursday’s edition of EDiBS, God’s blessings to you in our Lord Jesus Christ, and thanks for joining in today for some time together in God’s Word. Today we’re continuing on in our look at 2 Peter 2, now coming to the end of this very important chapter, and I’m glad you’ve come along to be part of things. Let’s go right to prayer and open our Bibles as we begin.
Lord, we praise you today. We’re so thankful for the way you reach into every facet of our lives. We praise you for your love and for the way you never give up on your children. In this moment we ask that you bless the reading and the study of the Scriptures. Use this time to shape us as your people; to fashion us into what you created, and indeed, recreated us to be. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
As we get started today, we find that Peter still isn’t finished in his condemnation of false prophets. Our focus: more on the methodology of their deception, and more on the end that awaits them.
2 Peter 2:13-22
13They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness. 17These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."
If you’re a dog person, then you know that, as much as you love your dog, there are times when it’s just gross. Your dog will embarrass you in public with inappropriate behavior. It will eat poo. It will bring dead things into the yard, and in the case of an inside-only dog, it will drink out of the toilet, get into the trash, and do all kinds of other things that you don’t even know about. You may have trained it, and it may behave like an angel in your presence, but it has a secret life that it relishes in your absence. A dog will also return to its vomit, and though it does so for various reasons, that too is simply — well — gross!
In the Word of God today, that very picture, graphic as it is, is used to demonstrate the deplorable state, the deplorable behavior, and the deplorable subject matter of men who are false teachers. They are like dogs, and what they peddle is like vomit…vomit that they return to over and over again. We’re looking at several more verses than usual today because in one sense Peter is simply adding emphasis to what he has already made clear for us — so with that in mind, let’s get into things.
Verses 13 and Following: In the 10 verses we’re covering today, what I’d like to do is highlight one more time some of the identifying hallmarks of false teachers, things that should raise a red flag for you if you see them occurring. Remember, though one of the tactics of people like this is that they secretly introduce destructive things by posing as upstanding, respectable pastors and teachers, it’s never long before the cracks in the façade start to show.
Verse 13 lets us know that they carouse in broad daylight as they feast with us. This is a reference to inappropriate and even immoral behavior stemming from church fellowship events.
Verse 14 talks about adulterous behavior. This is an extension of verse 13, and it refers to the kind of unbridled, barely concealed lust that sees every woman as a potential adulteress.
Verses 15 and 16 tell us once more that false teachers have wandered from the straight path and have gone after the wages of wickedness. Balaam was essentially a prophet for hire to whoever would pay him, and he was more interested in acquiring wealth than being faithful to speak God’s Word. You can read about the incident of Balaam’s donkey in Numbers 22-24.
In verse 17 Peter again speaks of the impending judgment of false teachers by God, and for more reasons as to why, we need simply to move on in the passage.
Verses 18 and 19 say that false teachers speak boastfully, appeal to our sinful, fleshly desires, and that they will especially prey on those who are just escaping from the old way of life and trying for the first time to walk in the truth. How will they do that? By promising freedom to people, when in actuality they will only enslave them all over again – just as they themselves are slaves to what has mastered them. Peter closes off this section by saying that it would have been better for these teachers to have never known the way of truth in Christ at all than to have known it, corrupted it, and ultimately rejected it. Likening them in the final verses to a wallowing pig or again, to a dog doing what turns the stomach, Peter uses those two very derogatory analogies to label them as being beyond hope.
As we wrap things up for the day, so we wrap up our look at the danger, the destructiveness, and the ultimate destruction of false prophets who would lead God’s people astray. It’s my prayer that you’ve gained some important insight and equipping through what Peter has shared with us in the second chapter of his letter. Tomorrow, we’ll shift gears a little bit and move into some different material, material I think you’ll find equally helpful for you as you endeavor to grow in your walk with Christ. Until we meet again, have a super day everyone — God-willing, I’ll see you again soon. The joy of the Lord be your strength!