“They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity — for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” (2 Peter 2:19)
Have you ever made a decision that you later regretted? Maybe it was how you treated a friend or family member. Or could it have been some kind of a purchase? Or, better yet, maybe it was something you did not do that you know you should have done.
All of us have said or done something (or didn’t do something) that later we said to ourselves: “I wish I had not done that!”
More often times than not, we do things we regret not because we originally believed we made a good decision but because there was most likely some uncertainty in the process of making that decision. It may have been a check inside of us that said, “I don’t think it would be a good idea to do that.” If the urge to move forward is stronger than the voice saying “slow down” or “don’t do that” then we normally do not heed the voice. We move forward and later realize it wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Peter wrote a letter we now call 2 Peter in the Bible to followers of Jesus. He begins his letter by focusing on the “divine power” (1:3) from God that every believer has with an emphasis on using His power to “escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (1:4) Peter realized it was not just about receiving this divine power and all will go well. He commands his readers to “ … make every effort to add to your faith goodness … ” as well as other character qualities like knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. (1:5-7)
Why was it important to Peter that followers of Christ have these qualities from the power God provides? He knew the power sin has on us through our current reality as well as the old habits in which we may still engage. “For if you posses these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive … ” (1:8) “But if anyone does not have them (he) has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” (1:9)
Later in the letter Peter warns his readers of false teachers who “will exploit you” (2:3) and “seduce the unstable” (2:14). Do you have family, friends or those you work with who are not good influences on you or your loved ones? Do they seem to be having fun, but the fun always results in undesirable consequences?
Peter said in 2 Peter 2:19, “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity — for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” Do you see the irony? People like this declare they are “free” and that you can be too if you will act just like them. However, they are really slaves to sin and its consequences.
What are you a slave to? You can either be a slave to sin or a slave to Christ. You cannot be both. It just doesn’t work. If you come humbly before Jesus and acknowledge your desire to voluntarily be His slave and that you want to follow Him no matter the cost, He will give you His “divine power” to walk in this way and then you can be the one to influence others for Him. You can be the one to make decisions that align with God’s desires for you.
William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at OneMaster.org.