Tuesday: A Dog Returns to its Vomit

Read 2 Peter 2:17-22 and Matthew 12:43-45. What are the dangers when a convert to Christianity returns to his/her former lifestyle?

Peter was particularly concerned about the fate of those whom the false teachers entice back into their former sins (2 Pet. 2:18).

God's Word - Light in a Dark Place

Image © Kevin Carden Goodsalt.com

The false teachers promise freedom, but as Peter points out, the freedom that they promise is radically different from the kind of freedom that Jesus promised those who followed Him.

Look at the powerful warning Peter gave. It would have been better never to have “known the way of righteousness” (2 Pet. 2:21) than to have known it and then turned back to their old ways.

Of course, this doesn’t mean their case is hopeless. We all know stories of those who have turned away from the Lord and later have come back. And we know that the Lord is very glad when they do, and happy to take them back. (See Luke 15:11-32.) It means only that turning away is a very dangerous course to take, nor is it a pleasant one, either. A dog returning to its own vomit is a crude and harsh way to describe it, but Peter makes his point with that image.

Perhaps the echo of the words of Jesus in 2 Peter 2:20 is intentional (see Matt. 12:45, Luke 11:26). Jesus tells the parable of a man who has been freed from an unclean spirit. The spirit wanders without a place of his own, and then returns to see “‘my house from which I came’” (Matt. 12:44, NKJV). He arrives and finds it empty and put in order. He then moves back in, but he brings with him several other spirits more wicked than himself. As Jesus says, “‘the last state of that man is worse than the first’” (Matt. 12:45, NKJV). The danger Jesus illustrates and Peter describes is real. The new believer needs to ensure that the things of the Spirit replace the things that used to dominate his or her life. If involvement in church and the sharing of the new faith does not replace the earlier secular activities, it is too easy to revert to one’s old ways.

What are ways we as a church family can better nurture and disciple all our members, especially newer ones?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons