2 Peter 2 v 12 - 22

Peter reserves his harshest words for those who insinuate themselves into church fellowships in order to destroy the spiritual life in those not yet mature enough to discern that kind of behaviour. He refers in his diatribe to Balaam. I've just read the story of the prophet in the book of Numbers and it is a very curious tale which demonstrates God's care of animals, their instinctive awareness of the spiritual realm and the extent of man's perfidy, even when he has been given such great gifts from God. You can read the story in Numbers 22, 23 and 24 and of Balaam's death in chapter 31 v 8. It also reminds us that, even when people behave so badly, God continues to work His will out to bless His people. Peter makes it clear in this passage the timeless truth that those who seek only for pleasure in this life destroy themselves in the pursuit of that pleasure. It is self-evident that destruction awaits those who find pleasure in over consumption of alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography and so on. I watched recently the film of Jackie Pullinger's work in the Walled city in Hong Kong, working amongst drug addicts, gang members and prostitutes and it demonstrates the darkness in which self-harming deeds are done, the destruction of people's lives-the addict, their family and those they harm to get the money to pay for another fix. Christ came to bring freedom, remember his proclamation in His first sermon, recorded in Luke 4 v 18,19? However, freedom is a dangerous thing. Paul warned his readers in Galatians 5 v 13 that it was not an opportunity for self-indulgence and remember from our studies in that book that the letter was written to that church to encourage them to embrace their new freedom rather than to be forced into strict obedience to the crushing demands of Jewish Law! Peter warns his readers that there is no going back for a person who has tasted the delights which Jesus Christ has to offer and rejects those in order to follow sinful 'freedoms'. Be warned that we cannot assume on Christ's mercy: it was given to enable us to follow the way of the cross

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