They Promise Them Liberty:

False Teachers in the Churches of Jesus Christ


“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 in bondage.”

II Peter 2:19


  1. The rage in church growth today is called the “seeker sensitive” movement, which waters down the gospel, substitutes entertainment, and allows most any lifestyle to attract and keep unregenerate and carnal Christians.
  2. Robert Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral, Rick Warren and Saddleback Church, and Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Community Church are the big names, but seeker sensitive compromise has infected most churches.
  3. We have in our city churches no longer willing to be called Baptists or churches i.e. Southside Fellowship.
  4. We have a large Baptist church promising, “If you come back, we promise not to throw the book at you!”
  5. The greatest enemy we face is carnal Christianity, worldly living, sinful compromise, and diluted devotion.
  6. We are living in the perilous times of the last days (II Tim 3:1 – 4:5), but this prophecy adds details to Paul’s.
  7. The key to wisdom is 2:19, where false teachers promise liberty, which is the lascivious grace of Jude 1:4.
  8. There are two pronouns in our title, just like there are two groups of people traced by pronouns in 2:18-22.
  9. There will be a temptation to get excited about tracing pronouns and antecedents, but we want the warning.
  10. Peter was very intense about frequently reminding the saints against carnal and fruitless living (1:12-15; 3:1).
  11. As in the rest of the New Testament, there is warning here of regenerate saints backsliding in sin (1:9; 3:17).
  12. The lesson we must receive is to earnestly contend against false teachers and carnal living (Jude 1:3-4,20-23).
  13. We live in exceeding dangerous times, when the Christian world is spewing a lascivious and carnal brand of religion, which we must resist with all our might and not let it spot us with false brethren or false practices.
  14. There are several ditches we must avoid when we study chapters like this in light of those returning to sin.
    1. Ditch #1: there is a great crowd of unconverted elect wandering around that just don’t know any better: this error assumes everyone in the chapter is a born again child of God, simply unconverted or carnal.
    2. Ditch #2: anyone returning to live in sin was not born again or saved in the first place, for it is impossible: these understand that God has generally guaranteed that all the elect will progress in holiness through life; therefore they teach that there are no elect or regenerate saints in this chapter, all are false professors.
    3. These are the large two ditches of Antinomianism and Universalism (#1) and Calvinistic Fatalism (#2).
    4. Ditch #3: as long as one has invited Jesus into his heart, he is saved forever, no matter how he might live: these promote emotional decisions for eternal life with little regard for holy living or opposing the world.
    5. Ditch #4: God loves all his children as they are, and hell is just an invention of angry old theologians: these believe all men are going to heaven, and this chapter is fear mongering of questionable authenticity.
    6. These are the large two ditches of Arminianism and Decisional Regeneration (#3) and Universalism (#4).
    7. The truth of the matter is that God guaranteed eternal life for the elect, but they can still ruin their lives.
    8. The truth of the matter is that all of God’s elect are unconverted to some degree, some more than others.
    9. The truth of the matter is that ministers – faithful or false – can seriously affect their hearers (I Tim 4:16).
    10. The truth of the matter is that discipleship is a duty of each believer, without which he will fall into sin.
    11. The truth of the matter is that the grace of God can be squandered and God’s elect can miss God’s best.
    12. The truth of the matter is that if we cannot be entangled again in sin, we should relax and take life easy.
    13. The truth of the matter is that if God has guaranteed our holy living, then these warnings are a cruel hoax.
    14. The truth of the matter is that many false teachers would arise by Satan’s working to devour true saints.
  15. We must reject any and all semblance of fatalism that trusts God to deliver lazy saints from false living.
    1. If you do not apply yourself using the grace of God, you will fail of God’s grace and make shipwreck.
    2. God warned often that elect saints can backslide and fall horribly into sin (1:9; 3:17; Gen 19:1-38; I Kgs 11:1-11; I Cor 9:27; 10:1-11; 11:30; 15:2,33-4; II Cor 11:3-4; Gal 5:4; 6:1; Eph 5:14-17; Col 2:4,8,18; I Tim 4:16; 5:6,11-13; 6:6-10; II Tim 2:16-18; Heb 3:12-13; 4:1,11; James 4:1-10; 5:19-20; II Pet 1:9; 3:17; Rev 3:14-22).
  16. Since II Peter 2 has a cousin chapter in Jude, you should not read or study the one without the other; and revel in the great similarity of these two epistles written by different men, but inspired by one Author!

2:1 False teachers and damnable heresies will occur in true churches, but they will be destroyed.

  1. Having described true prophets that wrote Scripture (1:21), Peter then warned about false ones.
  2. Moses’ law provided for false prophets, and Balaam is listed in context (2:15-16; Deut 13:1-5).
  3. Scripture warned often of many false teachers in the churches (Matt 24:21-24; Acts 15:1,24; 20:26-31; I Cor 15:12; II Cor 2:17; 11:3-4,13-15; Gal 1:6-9; 2:1-5; 5:12; Eph 4:14; I Tim 6:3-5; II Tim 2:17-18; 4:3-4; Titus 1:10-11; I John 2:19; II John 1:7; Jude 1:4; Rev 2:2,15,20).
  4. False teachers will bring false doctrines privily – secretly and craftily (Jude 1:4; II Tim 3:6-7).
  5. The false doctrines violate the common faith and general rule of Scripture (1:20; Jude 1:3-4).
  6. Damnable heresies are false doctrines worthy of judgment (2:3; I Cor 11:29-32; Matt 23:14).
  7. Denying the Lord that bought them is Jewish blasphemy denying the Deliverer from Egypt.
    1. Some use this text to show that Jesus also redeemed those wicked men that go to hell.
    2. This false reasoning argues for an unlimited atonement and against a limited atonement.
    3. This false reasoning presumes their Arminian definitions for “bought” and “Lord.”
    4. But Peter is appealing to Moses’ indictment of false teachers in Israel of old (Deut 32:5-6), where he aggravated their offences by reminding them of God buying them out of Egypt.
    5. Remembering the deliverance from Egypt was a common method to exacerbate the sins of Israel (Deuteronomy 13:5; 15:15; 24:18; Hosea 7:13).
    6. The LORD bought, or redeemed, or purchased, Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 6:6; 15:16; Deut 7:8; II Sam 7:23; Psalm 74:2; Isaiah 43:3; 51:10)
    7. Notice that he shall also appeal to the “spot” aspect of them in just a few verses (2:13).
    8. If Jesus bought them, what did He buy them from? God’s justice? How can they go to hell?
    9. These false teachers will deny the Lord God, distinct from the Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4).
    10. They do not deny in words, as they do in doctrine and practice (Titus 1:15; Mal 1:7,12).
  8. God will not put up with these wicked teachers for long, but He will surely judge them.

2:2 The false teachers will infect many, leading to hypocrisy staining Christianity’s reputation.

  1. Do not be a fatalist and imagine God has promised to protect all His elect from heresy, for if this is the case than most of the New Testament is vain babbling and a cruel hoax of warning.
  2. Many shall follow these false teachers, just as the majority generally has (Numbers 14:22-24).
  3. Pernicious ways describes doctrines and practices leading to fatal destruction and ruin.
  4. We see clearly that many saints at Corinth followed heresy and suffered for it (I Cor 11:30).
  5. Hypocrisy by Christians has long been one of the greatest accusations against Christianity.
  6. Here we have the first distinction between the hearers (“many”) and the false teachers (“their”).
  7. It is the general decline of Christianity by the many followers that stains and pollutes it so bad.

2:3 The false teachers will be greedy of gain in their methods and will be quickly destroyed.

  1. “Through covetousness” describes their lust and greed for personal profit and growth for glory.
  2. Paul warned Timothy against ministers who would measure godliness by growth (I Tim 6:3-5).
  3. Paul warned Timothy and Titus against ordaining men that like money (I Tim 3:3,8; Titus 1:7).
  4. If you cannot believe ministers would lie for monetary gain or to grow their churches, you need to read a KJV statement of Jesus that has been removed from all modern versions (Matt 23:14).
  5. You must believe that there are many ministers that are hypocrites (Matt 7:21-23; II Cor 2:17).
  6. “Feigned words” are hypocritical and deceitful words used to pretend spirituality to deceive.
  7. “Feigned words” are used by belly-worshipping, money-grubbing false teachers (2:18; Rom 16:17-18; II Cor 2:17; 4:2; 11:3-4,13-15; Col 2:4; II Tim 3:6-9; Titus 1:10-11; Jude 1:16).
  8. “Feigned words” are hard to detect, so you need to measure men by their fruits (Matt 7:15-20; Ps 37:37; Gal 1:6-9; Phil 3:12-21; II Thess 3:14; Titus 1:16).
  9. “Make merchandise of you” describes reducing you to the piece of bread of whores (Pr 6:26), in that you have little value to them beyond the buying, getting, and using of merchandise.
  10. These false teachers are appointed and ordained to hell (2:9,17; I Peter 2:8; Jude 1:4,7,15).
  11. And that judgment is not being delayed or held up as many might think (2:1; I Thess 5:3).
  12. God also judges men in this world with hard, swift judgment (2:1; I Cor 11:30; Rev 2:20-23).
  13. Can we find here another reference to Moses’ language (Deut 32:35; 2:1,13 cp 32:5-6)?

2:4 The first example of God judging sinful creatures and rescuing saints is the angels.

  1. This sentence does not end until 2:10a. It is designed to confirm the judgment just promised (2:1-3), by raising the examples of the wicked angels, the world in Noah’s day, and Sodom.
  2. If God judged angels so severely, He will surely judge men defying Him and saints (Job 4:18)!
  3. Compare Jude’s version of the sin of the fallen angels and their judgment by God (Jude 1:6).
  4. Note the use of “spared not,” which indicates there was no grace or mercy for sinning angels.
  5. The rest of the angels were preserved by God’s election from sinning (Matt 25:31; I Tim 5:21).
  6. We understand three stages of the angels’ judgment: cast out of their office (Is 14:12-15; Ezek 28:13-17; Luke 10:17-19; Rev 12:3-4), cast out of heaven (John 12:31; I John 3:8; Rev 12:7-10), and consigned to an eternity in the lake of fire (Matt 8:29; 25:41; Rev 20:10).
  7. Consider the verb tenses. Is Cain in hell? Yes, but not his body. Will he be cast into hell in the future? Yes, when he has his body and is formally sent to the place of torment (Rev 20:11-15).
  8. If “glorified” can be used in the past tense for the elect, so can “cast them down” for the devils.

2:5 The second example of God judging sinful creatures and rescuing saints is Noah’s world.

  1. God severely judged the ungodly world of Noah’s day by suffocation in water (Genesis 6-8).
  2. Note the use of “spared not,” which indicates there was no grace or mercy for sinning men.
  3. Noah saved his family by righteousness and walking with God (Gen 6:8-10; 7:1; Ezek 14:14).
  4. Noah was a preacher of righteousness – he warned his generation by the Spirit (I Pet 3:18-20).
  5. Jude did not use the example of Noah, but Paul did in the hall of faith (Hebrews 11:7).
  6. Most would call us morbid to exalt the Flood, but there is profit (Ps 9:16-17; II Cor 5:10-11).

2:6 The third example of God judging sinful creatures and rescuing saints is Sodom.

  1. God condemned the cities of the sodomites and overthrew them in fire until they were ashes.
  2. The burning of the cities was an example of what will surely happen to others living wickedly.
  3. God is a consuming fire, which demands that we worship reverently with fear (Heb 12:28-29).
  4. The men of Sodom were ungodly, wicked, and sinners exceeding (Genesis 13:13; 18:20-21).
  5. The sin of Sodom is clear – going after strange flesh – the same sex (Gen 19:1-11; Jude 1:7).
  6. Reject modern attempts by sodomites to reduce Sodom’s sin from sodomy to poor hospitality.
  7. Why do you think they have been called sodomites for 4000 years? For not being friendly?
  8. Compare Jude’s version of the sin of Sodom and God’s fiery judgment upon them (Jude 1:7).
  9. The fire that consumed Sodom is called eternal fire, because the Sodomites went to hell.

2:7 Lot was delivered from the judgment of Sodom for righteousness, though very vexed.

  1. What a comfort that God delivered this carnal Christian, who had not totally compromised.
  2. The word “just” does not mean only Lot, for his wife and two daughters were saved as well.
  3. The word “just” means that Lot was a just man before God, justified in Christ by covenant; vitally just by the Spirit’s new man, and practically just enough to be vexed by Sodom’s sins.
  4. Sodomy is here called “filthy conversation,” which means dirty conduct, not bad speech!
  5. How vexed are you with the filthy conversation of America and its Christians (Ps 119:136)?

2:8 Lot was a righteous man in nature and character, which caused him great pain in Sodom.

  1. Lot was born again with a righteous new man (Eph 4:24), which was grieved by open sin.
  2. The public and profane nature of sodomites meant that Lot had to see and hear about it.
  3. Their deeds were unlawful, not against the laws of Sodom, but against God’s (Gen 2:21-25).
  4. Their deeds were unlawful, not against the laws of Sodom, but against Moses (Lev 18:22).
  5. The New Testament as well condemns sodomy (Romans 1:24-27; I Cor 6:9; I Timothy 1:10).

2:9 The three examples prove clearly that God can deliver the godly and punish the wicked.

  1. The “temptations” here are afflictions, judgment, and punishment by the context; the subject of enticing sins has not been dealt with and the clear comparison is the judgment of the unjust.
  2. The Spirit used “temptations” for afflictions, judgments, and punishments elsewhere (Deut 4:34; 7:19; 29:2-3; Job 5:19; Ps 34:15-19; Luke 8:13; Acts 20:19; Jas 1:2; I Pet 1:6; Rev 3:10).
  3. The English language justifies this archaic sense of the word (OED). Temptation. A severe or painful trial or experience; an affliction, a trial.
  4. God will judge the wicked … false teachers in this context … and He will deliver the godly; and He is able to do this even when the wicked and godly might be mixed in a church setting.
  5. The LORD can distinguish and separate goats from sheep easily (Mal 3:16-18; Matt 25:31-46).
  6. Saints should not doubt, for God will certainly judge wicked men, as three example proved.

2:10 Two significant marks of apostates are sexual immorality and rebellion against government.

  1. Peter is describing the unjust, who are reserved to “the day of judgment to be punished” (2:9).
  2. Jude indicates it is defiling the flesh – sexual perversions – that is prominent here (Jude 1:8).
  3. The Holy Spirit by Peter is identifying two special categories of sins especially hated by God.
  4. Sexual immorality – pandering to the lusts of the flesh – is high treason against Jesus Christ.
    1. The relaxation of God’s law will manifest itself quickly in a breakdown of sexual restraint.
    2. We live in the fulfillment of this prophecy, for modest, chastity, and purity are long gone.
    3. Take a stand for modesty in clothing, speech, television, and activities and virginity in dating and marriage: you will find out how far the churches have backslid in this country.
  5. Despising government is the second of the two significant marks – disrespect of authority.
    1. God has set up offices of human authority in our lives, and we are to honor and obey them.
    2. The powers that be in civil government are from the LORD (Rom 13:1-7; I Pet 2:13-17).
    3. It is the height of presumption for citizens to rail on rulers – the same as children defying their parents and sitting in judgment on their decisions, yet knowing nothing of parenting.
    4. It is a mark of selfwill – the arrogant rebellion of doing your own thing – to resent rulers.
    5. They do not have godly fear, which they ought to have, about speaking evil of dignitaries.
    6. There are many things we dislike about rulers, but they hold offices given to them by God.
    7. There is no man but the president himself that knows all he must weigh in his decisions.
    8. There is no such thing as “inside information” that means more than a hill of beans to God.
    9. So what if a child overhears a conversation between parents, it is irrelevant to his duty.

2:11 The angels themselves do not speak evil foolishly or presumptuously against human rulers.

  1. This is a remarkable statement – for the angels are far greater in power and might over men.
  2. Jude’s account relates history of Michael and the devil and angelic respect for Satan (Jude 1:9).
  3. The angels of God did not bring railing accusations against Hitler, Stalin, or Mao Tse-Tung.
  4. That does not mean that God’s prophets and preachers cannot identify sin (Matt 14:3-4).
  5. There is a huge difference between saying, “Abortion is wrong,” and “The president is stupid.”
  6. God has ordained honor and respect for the offices of authority and the men He puts in them.

2:12 Those who despise rulers are like rabid or wild beasts, and should be, and will be, destroyed.

  1. Men who despise and ridicule government are not like intelligent beasts, but brute beasts.
  2. The only kinds of beasts that are to be destroyed are either untamable or rabid with disease.
  3. When you hear a man despising government, he is talking about something he does not know.
    1. It is the same sin as when a child curses or ridicules his parents’ and their decisions.
    2. It is the same sin as when a wife curses or ridicules her husband and his decisions.
    3. It is the same sin as when a peon curses or ridicules his or her employer and his decisions.
    4. The president of a country must weigh more contradictory pressures than we can imagine.
  4. God will take care of all those who despise government – they shall perish in their wickedness.
  5. Corruption of authority does not negate its rule or respect at all; it enhances it (I Pet 2:18-22)!
  6. There is no perfect authority at any level on earth; but imperfect authority is superior to none.

2:13 These wicked men creep into churches and hide among saints, but God will destroy them.

  1. The reward of unrighteousness is God’s judgment, for the wages of sin is death (Rom 3:23).
  2. These wicked men are so given to lusts and pleasure; they do not even wait for night (Pr 7:9).
  3. What whores used to wear only at night is now common attire for girls and women in the day!
  4. To “riot” is not throwing Molotov cocktails at buildings, but lascivious partying instead.
  5. They conform themselves to the greedy lasciviousness of the world around them (Ep 4:17-19).
  6. They are spots and blemishes on Christ’s churches, while they deceive with hypocrisy (3:14).
  7. Life is a game to them; life is a party to them; they consider church sporting by their lies.

2:14 Peter’s indictment of these wicked men and false teachers continues unabated and severe.

  1. They are so given over to the lusts of the flesh that they can hardly see a woman without lust, which is totally contrary to the character of Job and law of Jesus Christ (Job 31:1; Matt 5:28).
  2. A mark of just and righteous men is the ability to stop sinning, but these wicked men cannot; they have not been given the gift of repentance to acknowledge the truth (II Tim 2:25-26).
  3. They beguile unstable souls: here is the second mention of a second category of people (2:2).
    1. Unstable souls can be unlearned, simple, or compromising (3:16; Rom 16:17-18; Jas 1:8).
    2. The unstable souls are the victims of their hypocritical, lascivious, carnal Christianity.
    3. The unstable souls are the truly born again but weak members in the churches of Christ.
    4. What makes men unstable? Simple! They are double minded about serving God (Jas 1:8).
    5. A man that is playing with the flesh is easy prey to these false teachers allowing lusts.
  4. Their hearts are always thinking about what they do not have and wanting to obtain it anyway.
  5. These sinners, preying on saints for gain and lusts, are children of wrath (Eph 2:3; John 8:44).

2:15 The false teachers would resemble the prophet Balaam, who loved money more than God.

  1. Rather than pursue God according to His word, they had their own agenda as false teachers.
  2. The story of Balaam is about a man who could not resist his covetousness (Numbers 22-24).
  3. Balak, king of Moab, offered to pay Balaam to curse Israel, and he could not finally resist.

2:16 God caused Balaam’s ass to rebuke him for his efforts to earn the wages of unrighteousness.

  1. All asses are dumb pertaining to intelligence, but the intent here is its ordinary inability to talk.
  2. Balaam’s iniquity was his efforts to earn the money from Balak, so the ass rebuked him for it.
  3. But Balaam was so intent on what he was doing, he entered into a conversation with the ass!
  4. The ass actually saved his life by not carrying him forward into the angel of the Lord God!

2:17 These false teachers are as a general rule reprobates and totally void of eternal life.

  1. A well without water is dry, empty, and worthless; this indicates their spiritual emptiness and their inability to satisfy the spirits of the elect (Ezekiel 13:22).
  2. While the Holy Spirit is often compared to water, these wicked souls had no presence of God.
  3. Clouds are nothing but water vapor, another metaphor; but these are tossed violently (Ep 4:14).
  4. They are not the wonderful clouds that move slowly and bring refreshing rain for the ground.
  5. They have a reservation in hell, eternal darkness with the devil and his angels (Jude 1:13).

2:18 The greatest evil of these false teachers is their hypocritical influence on the saints of God.

  1. These false teachers do not tell you they serve their flesh and the devil: they sound awesome!
    1. Remember, Paul warned about their deceit as ministers of righteousness (II Cor 11:13-15).
    2. False teachers hide lies under good words and fair speeches (Rom 16:17-18; Col 2:4,8).
  2. These false teachers entice and seduce the saints of God to relax and allow their lusts to rule.
    1. Here is the greatest threat to Christianity, carnal living of compromise with fleshly lusts.
    2. Every child of God still has the lusts of his flesh, and false teachers can easily allure him.
    3. If a minister does not take heed to himself and the doctrine, he can ruin many (I Tim 4:16).
    4. “Wantonness” is the ungovernable or undisciplined lascivious entertaining of fleshly lusts.
    5. A woman with “wanton eyes,” as Isaiah described her, is openly seductive to sin (Is 3:16).
    6. False teachers who allow and promote worldly pleasure with Christianity ruin many saints.
    7. Paul described false teachers preying on women laden with divers lusts (II Timothy 3:6-7).
    8. Weak believers, unstable ones, prefer the carnal living allowed at contemporary churches.
  3. We are told for the third time about a category of persons distinct from the teachers (2:2,14).
    1. “Those” is a pronoun distinct from two occurrences of “they” and a single case of “them.”
    2. “Those” were clean escaped from them who live in error, the false teachers and the world.
    3. “Those” were clean escaped from the world by knowledge of Jesus Christ (2:20 cp 1:1-4).

2:19 False teachers make a great show of liberty in the gospel, but they are bond slaves of sin.

  1. “While they promise them liberty,” is the cry of false teachers condemning restrictive religion.
    1. Jude described this as turning the grace of God, the gospel, into lasciviousness (Jude 1:3-4).
    2. Here we go with the most important words of this chapter – the message of false teachers.
    3. This is precisely the seeker sensitive movement of the last ten years getting rid of rules.
    4. This is precisely the billboard of the First Baptist Church of Mauldin, SC: “If you’ll come back, we promise not to throw the book at you.”
    5. This is precisely the common reader board, “Come as you are. Casual worship here.”
    6. They talk about great freedom and liberty in their so-called gospel, but it is another gospel.
    7. They despise and ridicule doctrine, teaching, judgment, rebuking, warning, and separation.
    8. They are committed to being conformed to the world and transformed by their cool music.
    9. Two families rejected our church in the last week over our Sunday attire, which is far more than being old-fashioned or merely traditional (Gen 35:1-3; Ex 19:9-11; Heb 12:28-29).
    10. Here is how we measure false prophets – where are the fruits of holiness (Matt 7:15-20).
  2. Here is contemporary and carnal Christianity in its roots – false teachers working for Satan.
    1. Take a strong stand on marrying only in the Lord, defined strictly; and men will hate you.
    2. Take a strong stand on church order in worship, defined strictly; and men will despise you.
    3. Take a strong stand on Christian modesty and mixed swimming; and men will despise you.
    4. Take a strong stand on movies, mags, books, television, and music; and men will hate you.
  3. These false teachers doing so much talking about freedom are bond slaves to corruption (2:12).
  4. Peter makes a simple statement of fact: you are the slave of whatever controls and rules you.
  5. The pronoun “them” are the saints of God, and the pronouns “they” are the false teachers.

2:20 Those who were clean escaped from the world can be entangled again to their great ruin.

  1. This escape from the pollution of the world through knowing Christ is salvation (1:1-4; 2:18).
  2. It is possible for God’s saints to be entangled in worldliness and overcome by it (1:9; 3:17; Gen 19:1-38; I Kgs 11:1-11; I Cor 9:27; 10:1-11; 11:30; 15:2,33-4; II Cor 11:3-4; Gal 5:4; 6:1; Eph 5:14-17; Col 2:4,8,18; I Tim 4:16; 5:6,11-13; 6:6-10; II Tim 2:16-18; Heb 3:12-13; 4:1,11; James 4:1-10; 5:19-20; II Pet 1:9; 3:17; Rev 3:14-22).
  3. When it occurs, the judgment on saints will be severe (Heb 2:1-4; 6:4-6; 10:26-31; 12:25-29).
  4. God’s rule is fair and simple – to whom much is given shall much be required (Luk 12:47-48).
  5. Rather than be overcome by the world, we are to overcome the world (Rom 12:21; I John 2:13-14; 4:4; 5:4-5; Rev 2:7,11,17,25; 3:5,12,21; 21:7).
  6. Jude used the example of Israel being delivered from Egypt but destroyed in the wilderness.

2:21 To hear the truth of the gospel and turn from it puts you under greater judgment from God.

  1. If this is merely a description of reprobates, it does them no good, and it does saints no good.
  2. This is in fact a warning to saints to take careful heed to what they have heard and to obey it.
  3. God delivered Israel out of Egypt, but He destroyed those who turned back (Num 14:1-45).
  4. Peter clearly acknowledges before and after this description the possibility of it (1:9; 3:17).

2:22 Solomon’s proverb about dogs and pigs aptly describes the folly of saints returning to sin.

  1. This is a true proverb, not merely a man’s opinion, inspired by God for King Solomon (26:11).
  2. The use of dog and sow does not teach their legal standing: do not mix metaphors (Rev 22:15).
  3. It teaches what the metaphor is for – fools returning to sin are as dumb as dogs eating vomit; for obviously they threw it up because of its offensive nature or a very sick stomach.
  4. It teaches what the metaphor is for – fools returning to sin are dumb as clean pigs wallowing.
  5. The metaphor is not theological proof that these parties had the unregenerate natures of a dog.
  6. It is a fact of our existence in this world that we have remaining fleshly lusts in us (Eph 4:22).
  7. The time past of our lives should suffice God’s elect, but some return for more (I Peter 4:1-4).


  1. You can take a pencil, pen, or marker and trace the pronouns and antecedents for two categories of persons.
  2. We must earnestly contend for the apostolic faith once delivered and not compromise at all (Jude 1:3).
  3. The liberty we have in Jesus Christ pertains to our legal standing, not our practical lives in the world.
  4. We are at war with denominational religion and organized Christianity, and we are at war with our own lusts.
  5. We must oppose the form of godliness without power of contemporary churches at home and in our church.
  6. Peter committed himself and his remaining days to reminding the saints of their duties to holiness (1:9; 3:17).
  7. Faithful ministers do not make hearers comfortable, but bring their thoughts into captivity (II Cor 10:4-6).

For Further Study:

  1. Sermon Outline: God Hates Compromise.
  2. Sermon Outline: Hot, Cold, or Lukewarm.
  3. Sermon Outline: The Ordinance of Authority.
  4. Sermon Outline: Eating and Drinking Christ, which condemns the mega church and seeker sensitive movements.