When We Choose Not to Grow

Today’s Reading: 2 Peter 2 & 3

Peter spends the rest of his second letter warning the believers. The first chapter talked about growing in our relationship with God. The next two chapters talk about the dangers of walking away from our relationship with God and back into sin, instead of taking steps of growth.

Peter starts by warning them against false teachers who would slander the truth, making up clever lies in order to obtain money from unknowing believers (2:1-3). This is one way we could be led away from God’s truth rather than growing in the knowledge of Him. Then we begin to let sin slip into our lives instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to produce holiness.

Consider the stories from the Old Testament we grew up learning about. God did not tolerate sin then and He doesn’t now.

God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. – 2 Peter 2:4

– Consider Noah. God protected Noah and his family but did not spare those around him who were living in sin. They were destroyed by the flood (2:5).

– Consider Lot. He lived in a city surrounded by shameful immorality of wicked people. Instead of joining in the sin, Lot was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. God rescued Lot while making an example of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, showing this is what will happen to ungodly people (2:6-8).

God will judge those who follow their own twisted sexual desires (2:10).
God will judge those who despise authority (2:10).
God will judge the proud and the arrogant (2:11).
God will judge the false teachers who delight in deception and indulge in evil pleasures, committing adultery with their eyes and luring unstable people into sin (2:12-14).

You are a slave to whatever controls you. – 2 Peter 2:19b

That is a powerful statement. The false teachers Peter was talking about had been believers at one time but had wandered off the right road. For them, the love of money was what began to control them. They then became arrogant and boastful, bragging about themselves.

Next came twisted sexual desires, which they tried to use to lure others into this lifestyle of deception. They promised it would bring freedom – the freedom to do what you want and live as you would like. It’s your right! But there is no freedom in sin and they became slaves to sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.

And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get TANGLED up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. 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.” – 2 Peter 2:20-22

Peter reminds us of how God destroyed the wickedness of the world with a flood and how the day is coming when He will use fire to destroy ungodly people. The day is coming, even though it seems to us like God is taking his time to judge the sin. 2 Peter 3:9 is one of my favorite verses about this wonderful God who spends time with me each morning over a cup of my morning coffee. This reveals His heart.

But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. – 2 Peter 3:8-9

Peter wraps up his letter with words of encouragement. He has described what happens when we grow in our relationship with God v. what happens when we let sin control us. Peter also explained how we can grow in our knowledge of God – by coming to Him, by responding to His promises, and by experiencing Him. It’s our choice now. What will we choose?

And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.

And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved…

Be on your guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen. – 2 Peter 3:14-15a, 17b-18