Saturday, August 13, 2011

Short-sighted

2 Peter 2:17-22

When I was in high school, my mom bought me a cat.  I enjoyed having his company and he seemed to enjoy mine.  There were times; however, that he was completely disgusting.  For example, when he had a hairball, I would hear him making the most horrid sound and when I would go to see what was happening I would see him throwing up (on the carpet of course).  I would go get some things to clean it up and when I returned I would see him licking it back up.  Disgusting!  I never could understand why he did that.  Well, Peter uses a similar word picture for us in the last part of 2 Peter 2 to describe those who knew Christ and then chose to follow a different direction.  Please look up 2 Peter 2:17-22.

Yesterday, I looked at the word pictures Peter gave us in verse 17 for false teachers as a dried up spring or a mist blown away in the wind.  Going further in this section of scripture, we can see that Peter warns that they enjoy bragging about themselves and get themselves tangled up in "twisted sexual desires."  I think about many of the cult leaders that have made the news and how they all fit that description.  It is a good baseline to look at because we know that God wants us to grow an attitude of humility not arrogance and when we see people claiming to be a prophet or leader of God and bragging about themselves, it is a red-flag and we should stay away.  Peter is clear that they are good at luring people away, particularly those who may have recently found Christ.

This is our warning to not follow these false teachers - we read that Peter says it would be better to have never known the way to righteousness than to turn away from the command to live holy lives.  A few weeks ago, I was studying chapter 1 and saw that we were given everything we need by God to live godly lives.  We were told for that very reason we should urgently add these qualities to our faith in order to keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of Jesus: goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love.  When we have an effective and productive knowledge of Jesus, we will recognize the false teachers.  We are also told in 2 Peter 1 that those who do not develop these qualities become short-sighted or blind.  That is dangerous because we will then be tossed about with every teaching that comes our way.  When we are short-sighted we will not be able to see the big picture of what we are being taught.

Peter then tells us that if we know the way of God and reject His command for holiness, we are the equivalent to a dog returning to his vomit or a washed pig going back to the mud.  Please look up Proverbs 26:11.  Peter is basically calling that person a fool because they are not living out who they are in Christ; they are returning to their chains of sin.  Peter says that we are a slave to whatever controls us, and if we choose to be controlled by sin it is our master.  Don't return to the master of sin, stay yoked to Christ!  Continue to grow in your faith and knowledge of Christ so you will not be lured away by the false teachers.

This is such an unpleasant and tough subject to study, and I thank you for sticking with me through it!  Next week, I will begin studying chapter 3.  Be encouraged!  God has truly given us everything we need to live out the lives He has called us to live.  Remember what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."  Your labor to add those virtues to your faith will not be in vain!

Are you working with urgency to grow in your knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus?

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