"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who secretly will bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their damaging ways; by reason of whom the way of truth will be evil spoken of. And through covetousness with fabricated words they will make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time did not linger, and their damnation does not slumber. For if God did not spare the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example to those that after would live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy manner of living of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust for the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they do not understand; and will utterly perish in their own corruption; And will receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceiving while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: a heart they have exercised with covetous practises; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbid the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much lewdness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog has returned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." Second Peter 2
In a recent post of mine, I spoke of the humble and how they don't participate in heresy. Peter here talks of a type of person that I most certainly know he had observed. Apparently this fellow was once a follower of Jesus Christ. He apparently made a confession and repented for a time. He joined the movement, striving to imitate the Master and His ways. Why did he defect? Was there something that he was looking for that he didn't find? Apparently he wasn't satisfied with the teachings and lifestyle of the Apostles. Longing for the Savior and His ways weren't this man's views of happiness and peace. The question then turns to why? and what happened? I think the why is more difficult to answer. Christians have argued over the "why" for centuries and still haven't resolved the dispute. We do know for sure "what" happened. This person was led away by his desire for worldly things. He saw the temporary glory of money, power, and influence far better than the eternal riches of heaven through Jesus Christ. It seems that he saw "some" value in the teachings of the Apostles, but twisted them to suit his fancy.
DamnablePeter said that they will "bring in damnable heresies." When language was a little more of an issue in the Christian culture, if you said the word damn, you were in deep trouble with your mama. But what did Peter mean?
Damnable - ἀπώλεια: Destroying, utter destruction of vessels. A perishing, ruin, destruction of money. The destruction which consists of eternal misery in hell.
The heresies Peter spoke of weren't only damnable for the one distributing them, but also for those who willingly received them. He elaborates a little more on the fate of those who do this.
"denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.......whose judgment now of a long time did not linger, and their damnation does not slumber. For if God did not spare the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example to those that after would live ungodly;........... these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they do not understand; and will utterly perish in their own corruption; And will receive the reward of unrighteousness,................cursed children:..............These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever........... But it has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog has returned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
Peter said their destruction would be swift, and made some comparisons to the demons, the old pre-flood world, and Sodom and Gomorrah. He also makes a reference to Balaam and his talking donkey. We kinda laugh and think about that old show with the talking horse Mr. Ed. However, this talking donkey is one that we never would want to encounter. Balaam started on the right path and strayed off to his own destruction. He refers to them as natural brute beasts who were "made" to be taken and destroyed. That comment has a little bit of Divine Providence leaking out of it. They will "utterly perish in their own corruption." Makes me think of Romans 1:18-32. Cursed they are, as are all who are born under the curse of Adam. But there are those who receive grace and are faithful to the end. Unlike these that Peter is referring too.
Hebrews 12:2 - "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
I'll just leave it there. That is what I think of when I think of the saints of God. They finish by the power of God's grace and do not "fall away." Peter says they are "wells without water," and "clouds carried with a tempest," which tells me they are devoid of any special grace from God. They are empty of anything good and only full of worldliness. "The mist of darkness is reserved forever," this has a mystical flavor to it since Peter is using imagery to describe a literal reality. Then Peter goes and describes their nature: "The dog has returned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." The implication here is that dogs return to their vomit, and pigs after they have been washed go back to the dirty, stinking mud hole. The problem isn't that they went back to the vomit and the mud hole, the problem is that they are dogs and pigs. This is related to what Jesus said in Matthew 7:6 -
"Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither should you cast your pearls before swine, otherwise they will trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."
Rend - verb transitive preterit tense and participle passive rent. [Eng. cranny, Latin crena, Gr.]To separate any substance into parts with force or sudden violence; to tear asunder; to split; as, powder rends a rock in blasting; lightning rends an oak.
That does touch on the why, but there are many arguments over how one gets to be labeled a dog or a swine. However you see it, what Peter said here is true.
This is What Dogs and Pigs Do
Dogs and Pigs love filth. Now I have a dog and I love him. He's my buddy, but he's still a dog. When I wash him, it's not long that he goes off in the woods to find a dead animal to roll in. Even though I love bacon, pigs are dirty animals also. Wild hogs tend to taste funnier than farm-raised hogs because they don't have as clean of a diet. You see, hogs and catfish absorb and do not excrete the impurities of what they eat. Hogs are also omnivores, so they eat vegetation and meat (that is usually dead and rotting). An old farmer I knew once fed his dead chickens to his hogs. They ate them up! Learning about these things is important in understanding the weight of Peter's illustration. False teachers are just like dirty old hogs and dogs. False teachers according to Peter aren't much different. It's in their nature to teach false doctrine and lead people astray from the way of truth. They are damaging, covetous, they make merchandise of their followers, their words are fabricated, they walk in the flesh, and are driven by a powerful lust. They despise Government (Rules of any kind), they are presumptuous, self-willed, they riot in the daytime, speak evil of dignitaries and things they don't understand, they have eyes full of adultery, and cannot cease from sinning. They deceive unstable souls, and exercise covetous practises. They speak vain words, which promise freedom and prosperity. However, they are slaves to their own corruption. It would have been better that they had never known the "way of righteousness." You see, they willfully disobey the commandments of Christ. This is consistent with what James says in 3:1:
"My brethren, let not many of you become instructors, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation."
Regardless of what one may do or say, this is serious business. Some take this and think that maybe they are a dog and a pig. The good thing is that even though dogs and pigs are what they are, you are given the mercy of time in which you are free to repent. There is a lot of mystery wrapped up into the Sovereign will of Yahweh and the responsibility that He expects from us. I don't think there is a Theological system that can truly pin this down. Only God can. What I do know is that God is sovereign and His hand is over all that is living. If you desire a better way and maybe you have fallen or even willfully run into error, there is mercy available. None of us deserve it. I recommend reading "Do You Want To Be Saved?" by J.C. Ryle. I think you can find hope and encouragement there. Remember what James said in James 4:7-10
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up."