“A Dog Returns to Its Own Vomit”

Text: 2 Peter 2:18-22

Peter wrote this epistle in order to remind these brethren of some things before he departed (1:12-15). One of his warnings was about the threat of false teachers (2:1-2). There was a real danger that these Christians could fall away; he wanted them to be prepared. We need to heed his warnings today.

False Teachers Are a Danger (v. 18)

  • False teachers cannot be ignored – they are a reality; they “introduce destructive heresies” (2:1)
  • They speak “arrogant words of vanity” – they are not as important as they think they are
  • They are a greater threat to weaker Christians (“they entice…those who barely escape“) – not to say that strong Christians are immune to the threat of false teachers (1 Corinthians 10:12); but those who are not grounded in the truth are more vulnerable (1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 4:14)

Apostates Are Often Seeking “Freedom” (v. 19)

  • These false teachers do not want to be bound by God’s law – they know others feel the same way (cf. Jude 4)
  • But all men will be enslaved to someone / something (Romans 6:16)
  • Christ came to set us free (2 Corinthians 3:17; John 8:34, 36) – not freedom to sin, but freedom from sin; those who preach freedom to sin lead others to become enslaved to it (John 8:34)

We Escape the World by the Knowledge of Christ (v. 20)

  • Peter again emphasizes the importance of the word of God (2 Peter 1:3)
  • If we are to escape the defilements of the world, it will be through the knowledge of the Lord
  • The word of God teaches us to “deny ungodliness and worldly desires” (Titus 2:12) – God expects us to obey His word (Titus 2:14)

The Last State is Worse Than the First (v. 20-21)

  • Peter makes it clear that Christians can fall away (cf. Galatians 5:4; Hebrews 3:12; 1 Corinthians 9:27) – otherwise, no matter what one did, he could never be as bad off as before obeying the gospel
  • Why is it worse to be a fallen child of God than to have never been a child of God? … not because punishment is worse (Romans 6:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)
  • Because of the difficulty in trying to restore the apostate (Hebrews 6:4-6)

They Have Become Like Animals (v. 22)

  • They are creatures of habit – they return to their folly (Proverbs 26:11); we are to overcome our past habits so we can follow the Lord (Luke 9:23)
  • They have become senseless – like the false teachers who are “like unreasoning animals” (2:12); it is more reasonable & rational to serve God than not, but they ignore this
  • They are worldly-minded – no thought to spiritual things, only the here & now; not what our perspective should be (Colossians 3:1-2)


  • Do not ignore the threat of false teachers
  • Do not ignore the possibility of falling away
  • Continue to follow the Lord, grow stronger, and keep your eye on the goal

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