Servants of Corruption

II Peter 2:19-20.

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

Untangling the pronouns will help us to understand more clearly what Peter is saying. I’ve looked in several commentaries, and in several versions, and here is what I have concluded:
The first they in v. 19 refers to false teachers who promise liberty to them, those whom they teach; and often convince that they do not need to live holy in Christ, but are free to live however they please. The irony here is, of course, that the false teachers are themselves servants of corruption as they gather fame and fortune for themselves, thereby becoming servants to what they teach.

New converts (they have escaped the world’s pollution through knowledge of Christ) become tangled up in the screed of the false teachers. Believing they are hearing something new and never before understood in Christianity, they become worse in their behavior than they were before they believed in Christ.

This passage has often been used to teach that people who follow false teachers were either never truly saved, or that they can lose their salvation by turning away from a holy life. I believe there is more credence in the idea that they were never truly born again than that anyone can lose his salvation simply by how he chooses to live. If the latter were true, then we would all be in danger every single day that we live.

We are sinful people, by nature. Even the great Apostle Paul battled just as we do. In Romans 7:21-25 we read about his struggle, which should be familiar to anyone who is honest about his own propensity to sin. The bottom line here is that we do not gain or lose salvation by the way we live. Salvation belongs to God, Who bestows it upon those who believe in Him and receive His gift of eternal life through the blood of Jesus.

When we are born again, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 6:1). His presence in our lives brings an awareness of sin, and a sense of shame when we indulge in sin. It is possible, however, for us to quench the Spirit (I Thess. 5:19) when we choose to continue our sinful behaviors. Thus, we need to always be on guard against the blandishments of false teachers, who are themselves in bondage to corruption.

No New Thing Under the Sun

Eccl. 1:9-11.

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

11. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

Image result for Eccl. 1:9-10 KJV

I have struggled with this concept over the years, that there is nothing new under the sun. The 20th century was full of amazing inventions that took us to the moon, made communication almost miraculous; medical research has created all sorts of interventions and cures; the world of technology has burgeoned with continually new products that connect us to the whole world with something the size of a checkbook. How can it be said that there is nothing new?

The answer is clear and quite logical if you put yourself in Solomon’s place. He was looking across time as an historian, not a scientist. Historically, from creation until Solomon’s day, life had gone on pretty much as it always had.

In verse 8, Solomon had addressed man’s desire for something new, something different. Everything was just a weariness, because it was old and repetitive. Acts 17:21 says that the Athenians of that day spent their whole time just trying to hear or see something new.

Our entertainment industry thrives because of our search for the new, the exciting, the never-been-done-before. But we’re never satisfied, always rushing to the theater for the next amazing movie.

Eccl. 3:11 tells us that God has put “eternity in their heart” and nobody can find peace and satisfaction apart from Him. Matt. 11:28 says, “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.”

The truth is, whatever is new is simply a recombination of the old. Man cannot “create” anything, new, because God is the Creator. Thomas Edison, renowned for his inventions, said that his inventions were only “bringing out the secrets of nature and applying them for the happiness of mankind.”

God has provided all the materials. What man does is work from what God has given to produce something different. But the materials have always been there. I think of man’s effort to create life in a test tube. Can’t be done, because only God is the creator of life. We can take the things He has already given us and use them to make a test tube baby, but we did not “create” those basic materials.

As a matter of fact, I’m thankful that man is not able to create from nothing, as God did. The nature of man is not holy and free of sin, and his creations would therefore be tainted from the beginning.

If man could create from nothing, how do you think that power would be used? What kinds of things would the human race want to create?