False Teachers Will Be Destroyed
1But there were also false prophets among the people. In the same way there will be false teachers among you. In secret they will bring in teachings that will destroy you. They will even turn against the Lord and Master who died to save them. His death paid for their sins. They will quickly destroy themselves. 2Many people will follow their shameful ways. They will give the way of truth a bad name.
3Those teachers are never satisfied. They want to get something out of you. So they make up stories to take advantage of you. They have been under a sentence of death for a long time. The One who will destroy them has not been sleeping.
4God did not spare angels when they sinned. Instead, he sent them to hell. He put them in dark prisons. He will keep them there until he judges them. 5God did not spare the world's ungodly people long ago. He brought the flood on them. But Noah preached about the right way to live. God kept him safe. He also saved seven others. 6God judged the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. He burned them to ashes. He made them an example of what is going to happen to ungodly people.
7God saved Lot. He was a man who did what was right. He was shocked by the dirty, sinful lives of people who didn't obey God's laws. 8That good man lived among them day after day. He saw and heard the evil things they were doing. They were breaking God's laws. And his godly spirit was deeply troubled.
9So the Lord knows how to keep godly people safe in times of testing. He also knows how to keep ungodly people under guard until the day they will be judged. In the meantime, he continues to punish them. 10Most of all, this is true of people who follow the evil longings of their sinful natures. They hate to be under authority.
Those false prophets are bold and proud. They aren't afraid to speak evil things against heavenly beings. 11Angels are stronger and more powerful than those people. But even angels don't bring to the Lord evil charges against heavenly beings.
12Those people speak evil about things they don't understand. They are like wild animals. They do what comes naturally to them. They are born only to be caught and destroyed. Just like animals, they too will die.
13They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to have wild parties in the middle of the day. They are like spots and stains. They enjoy their sinful pleasures while they eat with you. 14They stare at women who are not their wives. They want to have sex with them. They never stop sinning. They trap those who are not firm in their faith. They have mastered the art of getting what they want. God has placed them under his curse.
15They have left God's way. They have wandered off. They follow the way of Balaam, son of Beor. He loved to get paid for doing his evil work. 16But a donkey corrected him for the wrong he did. Animals don't speak. But the donkey spoke with a human voice. It tried to stop the prophet from doing a very dumb thing.
17Those false prophets are like springs without water. They are like mists driven by a storm. The blackest darkness is reserved for them.
18They speak empty, bragging words. They make their appeal to the earthly longings of people's sinful nature. They tempt new believers who are just escaping from the company of sinful people. 19They promise to give freedom to the new believers. But they themselves are slaves to sinful living. A person is a slave to anything that controls him.
20They may have escaped the sin of the world. They may have come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But what if they are once again caught up in sin? And what if it has become their master? Then they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.
21What if they had not known the way of godliness? That would have been better than to have known it and then to have turned their backs on it. The way of godliness is the sacred command that was passed on to them.
22What the proverbs say about them is true. "A dog returns to where it has thrown up." (Proverbs 26:11) And, "A pig that is washed goes back to rolling in the mud."
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