Hello Jim, I hope all is well with you! I have one question about your article on 2nd Peter 2:20. You said in your last paragraph (2 Peter and the False Teacher): Dave
What needs to be considered is whether Peter was claiming that they had actually “escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” or if these were some of the trademarks of the false teachers themselves that Peter was exposing in their true light. article
I thought that was a fairly good question to ask but how to you fit that with the words to follow that says: “they are AGAIN entangled therein, and overcome”?? I agree the context is about false teachers, so verse 20 is a clear continuance about them but the wording there is difficult. I am just wondering if it was something they were claiming or something that they have done. Verse 22 says: “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” They were claiming to have escaped but how do you make sense of the words that immediately follow? It “appears” that they did escape but were AGAIN entangled. Thanks for your help on your perspective. Dave
Hello Dave :)
Thanks for asking an excellent question. I did write another article where I addressed the 2 Peter reference in connection to how Paul also addressed such matters of comparison. By the way, I had to fix a mislabeled reference in the article, which is why you wouldn’t have easily found it. http://theshovel.net/qa/law/preaching-christ-versus-preaching-oneself
Just to make sure your particular points are addressed, I’ll make a few extra comments.
They were claiming to have escaped but how do you make sense of the words that immediately follow? It “appears” that they did escape but were AGAIN entangled.
For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:18-22
Consider how many forms of the Christian religion has made quite a show over the years regarding such escapes from worldly defilements. Please realize that I don’t doubt that a measure of freedom has been found by many through religious means. After all, how many times can you remember hearing how so-and-so was “gloriously saved”? I can remember questioning my own salvation because I had no drastic “conversion” to speak of. I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke or take drugs, I didn’t engage in fornication, I didn’t cuss — much, etc. The lack of an outward turnaround caused me to envy those who had such glowing testimonies of salvation. In many church groups and denominations, these acts of turning from sin define the salvation that is preached from the pulpit. Based on how quickly many of the assemblies of believers to whom letters were written had abandoned the truth of Christ in favor of those who preached fleshly gospels strongly suggests that the outward show had often replaced a true deliverance.
Consider that an outward show most likely included some very real changes in the lives of many. Maybe the fornicator stopped fornicating, or the drunkard cleaned up his act. That is, they had escaped the “defilements of the world”. How many preachers have found a pulpit simply because they had been so gloriously saved? And then, what is it that they are actually preaching? Remember how Paul cautioned against putting such men in positions of authority in the church? But that is exactly what has been done. And these are the very kind of men who may have escaped one form of fleshly defilement in exchange for another.
How else do such men speak out arrogant words of vanity by which they entice others by sensuality, unless their escape has been defined by the flesh? It really makes no difference how much they have claimed how they were saved by Jesus, does it? Haven’t we seen many of these same kind of turn-from-sin preachers fall back into the very sin they have been preaching against, until the moment they are found out? Notice how Peter used those two proverbs to describe such men: a dog returning to its own vomit and a pig that gets washed returning to the mud. This says much about the change of the ones Peter wrote about. The message is clear, for these false preachers merely got cleaned up, as pigs that get washed or dogs that become domesticated. Either will eventually return to its former preferences. Never lose the image of a clean pig running back to the mud or a house-broken dog gobbling up its own puke. And then remember how those born of God are instead referred to as sheep or lambs, which are merely animals who follow a shepherd.