10The Lord is especially hard on people who disobey him and don't think of anything except their own filthy desires. They are reckless and proud and are not afraid of cursing the glorious beings in heaven. 11Although angels are more powerful than these evil beings, even the angels don't dare to accuse them to the Lord.
12These people are no better than senseless animals that live by their feelings and are born to be caught and killed. They speak evil of things they don't know anything about. But their own corrupt deeds will destroy them. 13They have done evil, and they will be rewarded with evil.
They think it is fun to have wild parties during the day. They are immoral, and the meals they eat with you are spoiled by the shameful and selfish way they carry on. 14All they think about is having sex with someone else's husband or wife. There is no end to their wicked deeds. They trick people who are easily fooled, and their minds are filled with greedy thoughts. But they are headed for trouble!
15 They have left the true road and have gone down the wrong path by following the example of the prophet Balaam. He was the son of Beor and loved what he got from being a crook. 16But a donkey corrected him for this evil deed. It spoke to him with a human voice and made him stop his foolishness.
17These people are like dried up water holes and clouds blown by a windstorm. The darkest part of hell is waiting for them. 18They brag out loud about their stupid nonsense. And by being vulgar and crude, they trap people who have barely escaped from living the wrong kind of life. 19They promise freedom to everyone. But they are merely slaves of filthy living, because people are slaves of whatever controls them.
20When they learned about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they escaped from the filthy things of this world. But they are again caught up and controlled by these filthy things, and now they are in worse shape than they were at first. 21They would have been better off if they had never known about the right way. Even after they knew what was right, they turned their backs on the holy commandments they were given. 22 What happened to them is just like the true saying,
“A dog will come back
to lick up its own vomit.
A pig that has been washed
will roll in the mud.”
Peter hasn’t quite finished warning his readers about the sinister and evil people in their midst. In the first half of this chapter he cited the examples of angels and of the people in Noah and Lot’s day to illustrate how evil deeds and choices will lead to condemnation. But now Peter brings it a little closer to home and warns his fellow Christians that there are people within their circle of acquaintances who act with the same kind of callousness and irreverence.
These people think only of themselves, their minds are always on having sex with someone else’s husband or wife and in their conversations they are vulgar and crude. Peter uses the word “filthy” three times to describe their actions – other versions use the words “pollution” and “corruption” to highlight the base and evil activities in which they are engaged.
It is hard to believe that these individuals were at one time followers of Jesus. Peter says it is almost as if they are worse off than they were before they even heard of Jesus.
But why does Peter go on about this in his letter to fellow Christians? Is it not simply too discouraging to even think about? I’m sure it was difficult for them to hear all that Peter has written here. But without clear thinking and being alert to what can happen, I think Peter is afraid his brothers and sisters in Christ will be duped; they will get sucked in by the talk about “freedom”. Full alertness is called for.
O Father God, I want to stay pure and live a holy life. I have such easy access to so many things that pull me to think and act in ways that are completely contrary to the ways of purity and love. Grant me your grace and wisdom to choose well. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.