May 2, 2018
2 Peter 2:17-22 (NLT)
17 These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. 18 They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. 19 They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. 20 And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. 21 It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. 22 They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.”And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”
When I was a kid there was a brand of dog food called “Come ’N Get It.” In the way I remember one commercial, a mom stands on the back porch of a ranch-house ringing a dinner bell and yelling “Come and get it!” before a pack of dogs come running up to their chicken, beef, and liver flavored dinner bowls. Their tagline was, “It’s the taste that calls dogs to dinner!”
I didn’t think anything of it one evening when my mom told me to call the rest of the family to dinner and I yelled, “Dinner! Come and get it!” The next thing I knew my dad came storming in, and I got it.
You see, my father grew up in the rural Middle East, so there were some cultural customs that didn’t translate to suburban Dallas. One of them was dogs. Where he grew up dogs were filthy outdoor animals, not pets. And to call someone a dog was the greatest insult. So when the only place my dad had heard the phrase “come and get it” was in a commercial that “called dogs to dinner,” I had unknowingly insulted my father in the worst possible terms.
Peter does the same today, but he knows exactly what he’s saying.
We know that pigs were considered “unclean” to the Hebrews. They were connected to some pagan rituals, and so God said his people couldn’t touch them. But pigs in the Bible days had a cursed partner: dogs.
Dogs were considered disgusting, eating dead animals and other gross stuff that made them as unclean as pigs. And calling someone a dog meant they were the least of humanity. The dynamic double curse of pigs and dogs were also the derogatory terms Jews used for a Gentile… someone who didn’t know God and wasn’t in the covenant.
In today’s text, Peter continues his rant against false teachers. Throughout chapter two we’ve seen Peter describe them as being false because they opperate out of broken sexuality and identity. As we’ve seen, these leaders promise the false idols of prosperity and security, and today Peter says, “They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption.” (v. 19)
What they sold as freedom was just greed, and as a result, they “brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped a lifestyle of deception.” (v.18)
Did you see what he just did there? Peter, the former fisher of fish who was now a fisher of people says false teachers lure people in: “And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before.” (v 20)
Peter issues a dire warning here. Greed is not just selfishness, it is a lure tempting other believers to become entangled in nets of sin. When we become false or abdicate to the boasting of false teachers, preachers, and politicians, the end result is we take others with us.
In fact, it’s a double curse: “It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: ‘A dog returns to its vomit.”And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.’” (v. 21-22)
So what happens next? We’re about to see that because of all this Jesus is coming, and someone’s going to get it.
To be continued…
Heavenly Father, help me not to abdicate to false teachers, and help me not become one. I pray I would have your divine nature, so that when others talk about me they have to talk about how much Jesus loves us. In His name. Amen.
We’ve heard Peter beat this false teacher drum a lot the past few days. Is it starting to get to you? Are you convicted or tired of it? What do you think the Holy Spirit is trying to get us to see through Peter, then and now?