Are they really that bad? (13-14)
Remember your first job? You may not have lasted very long, but after completing that first week of work, you expected to receive a paycheck. My first paycheck was received from Robert D. Brown Masonry Contracting. After a strenuous week of work, it was good to receive that paycheck and visit the Tasty Freeze for a footlong cony dog. I had worked for the money I was given.
Sadly enough, the wages received by these wicked men are well deserved. They have worked for the cause of righteousness with all their strength. Peter describes them as those who find pleasure by indulging in sin during the day. We are reminded in John 3:19-21, that men love darkness rather than light. It is an acknowledged fact, that people commit more sin under the cover of darkness thinking that nobody will find out. But some people become so bold in their sin that they do not hide their unrighteous actions.
It is bad enough when worldly people flaunt their sins out in the world, but it is much worse when it comes from someone who claims to be a believer. The believers to whom Peter wrote were becoming aware that some of the people with whom they were feasting, were part of this group of ungodly people.
“Though the false teachers tried to pass themselves off as spiritual leaders possessing a special level of knowledge, they did not even hide their orgies under the cover of darkness but would carouse in broad daylight, while reveling in their pleasures. And they did all this while obviously joining in the love feasts of the church” (BKCNT 872).
They were spots and blemishes, meaning that their actions marred the pure fellowship of true believers by bringing sin into the church. How bad was this stain of uncleanness? Read verse 14. It was terrible! All they could think about was sensual pleasure regardless of the sinfulness involved in such behavior. They were so given over to sin that they were unable to stop. And along the way, they snared others to join them in their sin. All they could think about was themselves and whatever they were coveting at the time. Peter was right in calling them accursed children.
Luis and Jared were two young men who traveled for Northland’s Bible Adventure Team. During one of their long journeys, both of them fell asleep while driving. When they awakened, they were traveling 90 miles an hour and were just about the run into the back of a semi trailer! With a whip of the wheel, they narrowly escaped what could have been a serious accident. I’m glad the Lord awakened them at the right time.
As you think about the direction of these false teachers, you have to admit that there are many people heading on this road to destruction. You may be one of them. Do you find yourself hurtling through life with no power to resist your sinful desires? If so, that may be an indication of a serious problem. It may indicate that you do not have God’s Holy Spirit within you. The fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) includes self-control for true believers. And if that is not evident in your own life, it can mean at least two things: (1) You are not a believer indwelt by the Holy Spirit, or (2) you are a believer who has been quenching the Spirit’s work in your heart. In either case, you need to turn to God for help.
Why did they turn out this way?
These people turned out this way because they made a choice to abandon the right way. At some point, they were made aware of what was right, but they loved the pleasure of unrighteous living too much to turn from it to God.
Balaam is a good example of this kind of choice. His story and eventual demise can be found in Numbers 22-24 and 31:8. Balaam was some sort of religious man who was hired by the king of Moab to curse the Israelites. At first he refused because the Lord was against it. But the more he heard about money, the more interested he became (see Numbers 22:18-19). Then with his heart full of greediness, Balaam went off with the Moabites to do their bidding. So, God used extraordinary means to get his attention. God opened the mouth of his donkey, enabling it to speak to him about his error (22:28-30).
God finally got his attention, but not his heart. After even hearing God and the donkey speak to him, and after seeing God thwart the plans of the Moabite king, Balaam still had a covetous heart which longed for the same things these false teachers were after. Note what the Lord Jesus says about Balaam in Revelation 2:14:
But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.
That’s something that you would not have known about Balaam without it being revealed in the book of Revelation. Balaam knew about the Lord and even obeyed him to a point, but his heart longed for the pleasures of sin for a season and rejected the way of the Lord. This is the way of Balaam. This is the way of those who turn from the Lord to the pleasures of unrighteousness.
No matter how many Bible verses you have memorized, how many church services you have attended, or any other significant contribution to religion, if you reject the way of Christ for that which brings you pleasure, you will begin following the way of Balaam which leads to destruction.
On which of life’s roads are you traveling? Are you headed down the road of brazen rebellion against the authority placed over you by the Lord? Are you seeking your own pleasure above everything else? Are you happy to live in sin with no sense of guilt about your wickedness? Then beware! Your judgment is coming and the Lord will deal with you swiftly and completely.
But if today, the Holy Spirit is tugging at your heart, there is still hope. Do you see the sinfulness of your lifestyle and need to turn from it? Then repent! Turn from your sin to the everlasting arms of God. Your sins can be forgiven because the all-powerful, all-sufficient Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, died for you and rose again. Now through faith in him, you can be forgiven and made right with God.