My wife and I have two boxer dogs named Jazz and Rock. Boxers are perpetual puppies and really are fun companions. Our four children are grown so Jazz and Rock are our new “children”. Children do some pretty gross things at times and you come to expect them after a while. It starts with barfing down your back as you burb the baby, continues with your precious toddler digging what looks like melted chocolate out of his diaper in the middle of the grocery store, and includes your friends emptying their pool because your preschooler doesn’t want to get out when the fun is at its peak and creates floating candy bars. Well, it looked like Baby Ruth bars but was far from it. A while back, we had a different dog that threw up in the yard and then decided, since it looked like dog food, he needed to taste it. This is not something a child would do because they have a higher intelligence and know that barf is not food. However, the apostle Peter says, in 2 Peter 2:20 – 22, that people can be just like dogs who return to their vomit. Have you seen people like this?
Peter was applying an old proverb (Proverbs 26:11) to the false teachers in the church and likened them to washed pigs who return to the mud. It returns to the mud because it doesn’t appreciate the bath it got and just wants to go back where it was comfortable. The dog chooses to taste the bad stuff he just got rid of and the pig chooses to get back in the stuff he just got washed off. (By the way, the pig doesn’t leave the mud to void its bladder and bowels.)
According to Paul’s letters in Romans 6:1-4, we can see that we shouldn’t continue to live in sin. This is because we have been cleaned by the Spirit of Christ and His baptism. When we are baptized in the Spirit, our old, sinful ways are quote washed away” and we are given a choice. Versus 12-14 tell us that we should choose not to let sin control us. Versus 15 and 16 again tell us we have to choose.
I have a friend who had done drugs to the point that it took control of his life and led him to a life sentence in prison. While in prison, he surrendered his heart to God and gave up the drugs and sinful life. He spent a lot of time in chapel services and studying the Bible. I’m speaking in the past tense because he has chosen to return to his “vomit” of drugs and sinful living. In prison, he has to do it illegal (sinful) things in order to do drugs, sell drugs, use a cell phone, and sell both cell phones and cigarettes. He’ll try to blame other things or people if you ask him why he’s broke, his wife is homeless, and his daughter’s having sex at 14 years old. In reality, it was his choice.
I use the example of my friend in prison but it is so much easier for us to make bad choices. Check out the list Paul made it in Galatians 5:19-21. “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (NLT)
These are all sinful. 5:22-23 says that the Holy Spirit living in us produces “good fruit” in our lives that aren’t against the law. So, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Gal. 5:24-25 NLT) Make good choices.