Warnings about False Teachers
1 False prophets were among God’s people ⌊in the past⌋, as false teachers will be among you. They will secretly bring in their own destructive teachings. They will deny the Lord, who has bought them, and they will bring themselves swift destruction. 2 Many people will follow them in their sexual freedom and will cause others to dishonor the way of truth. 3 In their greed they will use good-sounding arguments to exploit you. The verdict against them from long ago is still in force, and their destruction is not asleep.
4 God didn’t spare angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, where he has secured them with chains of darkness and is holding them for judgment.
5 God didn’t spare the ancient world either. He brought the flood on the world of ungodly people, but he protected Noah and seven other people. Noah was his messenger who told people about the kind of life that has God’s approval.
6 God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed them by burning them to ashes. He made those cities an example to ungodly people of what is going to happen to them. 7 Yet, God rescued Lot, a man who had his approval. Lot was distressed by the lifestyle of people who had no principles and lived in sexual freedom. 8 Although he was a man who had God’s approval, he lived among the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Each day was like torture to him as he saw and heard the immoral things that people did.
9 Since the Lord did all this, he knows how to rescue godly people when they are tested. He also knows how to hold immoral people for punishment on the day of judgment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow their corrupt nature along the path of impure desires and who despise the Lord’s authority.
These false teachers are bold and arrogant. They aren’t afraid to insult the ⌊Lord’s⌋ glory. 11 Angels, who have more strength and power than these teachers, don’t bring an insulting judgment against them from the Lord. 12 These false teachers insult what they don’t understand. They are like animals, which are creatures of instinct that are born to be caught and killed. So they will be destroyed like animals 13 and lose what their wrongdoing earned them.
These false teachers are stains and blemishes. They take pleasure in holding wild parties in broad daylight. They especially enjoy deceiving you while they eat with you. 14 They’re always looking for an adulterous woman. They can’t stop looking for sin as they seduce people who aren’t sure of what they believe. Their minds are focused on their greed. They are cursed.
15 These false teachers have left the straight path and wandered off to follow the path of Balaam, son of Beor. Balaam loved what his wrongdoing earned him. 16 But he was convicted for his evil. A donkey, which normally can’t talk, spoke with a human voice and wouldn’t allow the prophet to continue his insanity.
17 These false teachers are dried-up springs. They are a mist blown around by a storm. Gloomy darkness has been kept for them. 18 They arrogantly use nonsense to seduce people by appealing to their sexual desires, especially to sexual freedom. They seduce people who have just escaped from those who live in error. 19 They promise these people freedom, but they themselves are slaves to corruption. A person is a slave to whatever he gives in to.
20 People can know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and escape the world’s filth. But if they get involved in this filth again and give in to it, they are worse off than they were before. 21 It would have been better for them never to have known the way of life that God approves of than to know it and turn their backs on the holy life God told them to live. 22 These proverbs have come true for them: “A dog goes back to its vomit,” and “A sow that has been washed goes back to roll around in the mud.”