The depraved false teachers we discussed yesterday, can’t wait to see you enslaved as well. Many people are tempted by the idea of indulging every possible sexual sin, free from guilt, shame and earthly and eternal consequences. “For when they (false teachers) speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.” (2 Pet 2:18)
The lie of the false teachers seems to be just that: you can sin without remorse or consequence, keeping all the benefits of belonging to Christ, and with the full approval of God. According to Peter, these liars use words as tools of deception; he says that their impressive-sounding talk is, in reality, simply boastful and empty but effective. Those who had just begun to escape from the lies of the culture, attracted by the gospel of Jesus, found the false teaching of these men hard to resist. Once again, the same is true in the modern world. Immature Christians in particular are easily swayed by these temptations.
The world typically claims that “freedom” means doing whatever you want, whenever you want, and however you want. The false teachers in the early church promised this kind of freedom. For them, this meant guilt-free indulgence in every kind of sexual sin. This, they claimed, came with no risk of God’s judgment. “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.” (2 Pet 2:19) The promise is a lie. It’s not just wrong because these teachers are wrong about Jesus. It’s also wrong by the practical evidence of their own lives.
They promise a freedom they don’t have. Instead of being free to indulge in their sexual passions, they simply cannot do anything else. They are, in fact, slaves, mastered by their own sinful desires. This is one of the most poorly understood, but powerful truths about sin. What Satan tells you is an expression of freedom is actually the very thing which enslaves you. And we are to never forget that our bodies are not our own: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor 6:19-20)
Peter recites what may have been a proverb of the day: “For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” This can be positive or negative. Those “overcome” with addictions and sins are certainly controlled by those. On the other hand, Peter began this letter by referring to himself as a slave—or bond servant—of Jesus Christ (2 Pet 1:1); all of us who are Christ followers belong to Him. One of the promises of life in Christ, life under the master Jesus, is true freedom, even from the harsh demands of our sinful selves.