As we discussed yesterday, someone who has been presented with the true gospel who follows a false teacher that supports them in continuing in their sin, is worse off than if they never knew of righteousness. “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.” (2 Pet 2:20)
These potential believers were misled by the false teachers and overcome again by their worldly practices. Peter writes: “For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.” (2 Pet 2:21)
Why would it be better? Partly because once that message has been heard and rejected, or corrupted, it is very unlikely someone will return again to believe and trust in it. Their attitude towards the gospel is now warped, distorted, and stained. They have added a series of roadblocks and hang-ups to their path towards genuinely accepting Christ. These complications make it all the harder for them to submit to God, and experience eternal salvation with God the Father. No wonder Peter comes across as so angry in his condemnation of the false teachers. They were effectively leading people away from the hope of Christ and back to their own path of destruction.
Peter now writes that those who persist in continual sin embodies folly from Proverbs 26:11. “But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.'” (2 Pet 2:22) Pigs and dogs were two of the most despised and unclean animals in Jewish thinking, so it makes sense that they were used to show the error of their ways.
In other words, these people were never truly changed in their nature. Dogs and pigs do what dogs and pigs do. Those truly in Christ don’t merely get rid of the sin in their lives and, thus, become acceptable to God. Through faith and by God’s power, true believers are changed in their very nature, becoming more and more like Jesus over time through the power of God at work in them. This does not mean perfection, but it does mean a changed life. Those who show evidence that they were never changed, it stands to reason, are still exactly what they used to be.