Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Impure, Impudent and the Self-willed (2 Peter 2:18-20)


by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean and escaping from them who live in error" (2 Peter 2:18).

The holy apostle knows men better than the learned scribes for he is a saint and an apostle. A saint and an apostle penetrate deeply into the heart of man. About whom does the apostle speak? He speaks about the "impure, impudent and the self-willed", whom he earlier called "wells without water and clouds and mist" (2 Peter 2:17). The "impure, impudent and self-willed" are men of many and high sounding [high falutin] words. They speak proud and false words to men. By these proud and false words, they both conceal and reveal their hearts concealing it for the uneducated and for those who do not understand and revealing it for those who are steadfast in the Faith and enlightened by Grace.

When the impure speak of their purity, by that they are declaring their impurity; when the impudent defends his character, by that he reveals his impudence; when the self-willed interprets the will of God, by that he shows his self-will. Whoever attentively follows his words can sense the stench of their bodily desires. The inattentive and uneducated cannot sense this stench but believe and are deluded. Those "who have just begun to escape" from the illusion of the body, the world and the devil are ensnared by proud and false words, as a fish in an invisible net. The fish does not know that it is in a net, until the net is pulled out on the hot sand. Then it knows but then it is too late. O may it not be too late for those pitiful souls of mankind who are ensnared in the net of proud and false words! Brethren know that every teacher who, by his teaching, condones bodily desires and who yields to sinners in bodily desires, is false.

Lord Jesus, Holy and All Pure, send Your Holy Angels to defend all beginners and fledgings in Your Faith from proud and false lips.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants (slaves) of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage" (2 Peter 2:19).

The apostle still speaks of "the impure, the impudent, and the self-willed", reminding the faithful, to beware of their misleading "proud and false words". He first said about them that: "they speak evil of dignities of the glory of God" and second: "that they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness" (1 Peter 2:18). Now he further speaks about how they promise liberty i.e., they promise something which they themselves do not possess, for being overcome by impure passions, they are slaves to their own passions, submissive slaves to the greatest tyranny of this world. O my brethren, how relevant for us are these apostolic words written some nineteen hundred years ago! Behold, how everywhere around us they get carried away declaiming liberty, those who do not have even a little bit of liberty! Listen to the cry of the despairing slaves of passions and vices; how deceived, they are deceiving; how blinded, preaching light. Passions are a woven net, woven by the devil, to ensnare mankind. Captured in this net, they refer to other men as slaves and themselves as freemen to the laughter of the devil, who silently gathers in the net hauling it toward his shore. O brethren, guard yourselves from those desperate ones who call themselves the heralds of liberty, while they serve their master and lord, the devil, day and night. Their poverty they call wealth and the wealth of others they call poverty, as does the ignorant one calls the entire world ignorant and himself intelligent. Thus, those who are least free call others enslaved. Service to God and to fellow men out of love, they call slavery, while service to the devil, they call liberty. They are malicious both to God and to men, as is the devil himself malicious to God and to men. Whenever you hear anyone who speaks to you of liberty, question him well, as to whether he is not a slave of some passion or vice. By the impurity of their life, by their impudence and their self-will, you will recognize all false teachers of liberty. The apostle reminds you of this.

O Lord, the only Giver of true liberty, safeguard us from the net of all those who are malicious toward You and us.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.

"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants (slaves) of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage" (2 Peter 2:19).

The apostle still speaks of "the impure, the impudent, and the self-willed", reminding the faithful, to beware of their misleading "proud and false words". He first said about them that: "they speak evil of dignities of the glory of God" and second: "that they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness" (1 Peter 2:18). Now he further speaks about how they promise liberty i.e., they promise something which they themselves do not possess, for being overcome by impure passions, they are slaves to their own passions, submissive slaves to the greatest tyranny of this world. O my brethren, how relevant for us are these apostolic words written some nineteen hundred years ago! Behold, how everywhere around us they get carried away declaiming liberty, those who do not have even a little bit of liberty! Listen to the cry of the despairing slaves of passions and vices; how deceived, they are deceiving; how blinded, preaching light. Passions are a woven net, woven by the devil, to ensnare mankind. Captured in this net, they refer to other men as slaves and themselves as freemen to the laughter of the devil, who silently gathers in the net hauling it toward his shore. O brethren, guard yourselves from those desperate ones who call themselves the heralds of liberty, while they serve their master and lord, the devil, day and night. Their poverty they call wealth and the wealth of others they call poverty, as does the ignorant one calls the entire world ignorant and himself intelligent. Thus, those who are least free call others enslaved. Service to God and to fellow men out of love, they call slavery, while service to the devil, they call liberty. They are malicious both to God and to men, as is the devil himself malicious to God and to men. Whenever you hear anyone who speaks to you of liberty, question him well, as to whether he is not a slave of some passion or vice. By the impurity of their life, by their impudence and their self-will, you will recognize all false teachers of liberty. The apostle reminds you of this.

O Lord, the only Giver of true liberty, safeguard us from the net of all those who are malicious toward You and us.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.


"For if after they have escaped the pollution's of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them then the beginning" (2 Peter 2:20).

Brethren, bright is the sun but brighter still are the words of the apostle. Brethren, the sun illumines bodies but it cannot illumine souls, while the apostolic words illumine the souls. The apostle clearly sees the heights and depths of a soul and he illumines it for us out of fervent love, in order to lead us on the pure path of salvation. In a few words, he gives us two great instructions. The first instruction: one cannot flee from the impurity of this world in any other way except through the knowledge of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. First of all, without knowledge of the Lord Jesus one is unable to see or to know the impurity of this world, and second, man is unable to be cleansed from this impurity without the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. The second instruction: when man flees from the impurity of this world by knowing the Lord Jesus and, again, becomes entangled in it, then for him "the latter end is worse than the beginning." For knowing the light, he again returns into the darkness and the darkness becomes even darker, and, recognizing justice, he again sinks into injustice and his punishment is more severe; and recognizing holiness he again falls into beastliness and the animal is still more furious. The holy apostle does not hesitate to equate this turning back with a dog who returns to his own vomit and with the sow, who having been washed returns to wallow in the mire.

Whoever recognized the Lord Jesus Christ also recognized all that is needed for his salvation; he received a binocular to see the impurity, lies and injustice and received the power to flee from all of that. Therefore let him not turn back so that eternal death does not swallow him up. Let him not tempt God countless times. For if God was quick to save him the first time He will be slower the second time, and even slower the third time. My brethren, illuminating are the apostolic words.

O Lord Jesus, Savior, Almighty and All-Good, do not depart from us in the hours of our weaknesses and deliver us when the impurities of this world again draw us to themselves.

To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.
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