Wednesday 29 December, 2021

2 Peter 2:10-22

10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish. 13 They 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. 14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. 17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It 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. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

What a straightforward, arresting and condemning passage of scripture. Is it strange to say, refreshing? But not in the sense you may think I mean. I am refreshed by a (brutally) honest account of the empty, impulsive, corrupting ways of the flesh. There is nothing good in this extensive description of giving oneself over to the flesh. And what powerful imagery: “these people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm.” There is a sense of lives that have so much possibility, or promise, but are in the end found empty and wanting.

What is perhaps most arresting is the fact that this could be any of us who know and follow the Lord – the flesh is an ever-present temptation that we can be overcome by, if we are not careful. But I see Good News. As verse 20 clearly implies, Jesus is the great liberator. He is the one that works escape from this extensive description of soul-destroying corruption. So, I need not fear, as long as I remain near to my deliverer. His way of life promises me the exact opposite of all that is grimly described here.

Lord, I cling to you and your way.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh



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