Vol. 7, No. 9
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Second Peter 1 opens with glorious words concerning the "like precious faith" of those who have "escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." Look at what that means.
Lust is what brings on sin in the first place. Sin is what brings death. People often wonder from where the temptations and evils of this world come, and some blame God. But Holy Scripture proclaims God is innocent and our lusts (desires) are to blame:
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:13-15)
Those lusts pass away, but he who abides in obeying God will last forever (1 John 2:15-17). Such lusts, then, are inarguably the enemy. They are to be avoided. They are to be respected as powerful. One should not toy with his ability to master them, but flee from every hint of temptation (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:18) and "abstain from every form of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
Those lusts are enslaving. Jesus taught, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin" (John 8:34). Paul echoed that every man serves either sin (which leads to death) or obedience (which leads to righteousness) (Romans 6:16). Only those who have "obeyed from the heart" (Romans 6:17) have been "set free from sin" (Romans 6:18). Lust and the sin that follows are enslaving enemies that need desperately to be escaped.
The Greek word for corruption used in 2 Peter 1 has as one meaning, "bringing into a worse state" (Vine's Expository Dictionary). Corruption is what comes when lust overcomes one's self-control. It conceives sin, and sin fosters death. What any observant human knows about death is that it is preceded by unpleasant circumstances. Miserable lifestyles are the result of sin. What any Bible student knows is that death is followed by even worse circumstances for those who are unrepentant and unforgiven. This is corruption; this is destruction.
Praise be to God, the Christian has escaped these drastic consequences! The Christian has escaped the enslaving enemy of sin by means of the freeing Truth (John 8:32). The Christian has escaped corruption because the faithful will be rewarded with a resurrected body that is "incorruptible" (see 1 Corinthians 15:50-58). Thus, the Christian has, in Peter's words, "escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
How sad it is then to read on in 2 Peter to find that there were some who did not, as one might say, stay escaped. Read 2 Peter 2:20-22. There were those who had "escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" but became "again entangled in them and overcome" (v. 20). For those who willfully neglected such a blessing of escape from corruption, "the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 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" (vs. 20-21).