“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: "The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire."”
(2 Peter 2:20-22 ESV)
The dangers of being lured away from Christ are very real. As Peter has been telling us, false teachers will come among us seeking to lure us astray. It was already happening in his day. And these false teachers will do so through destructive heresies and seductive passions.
As we look around the church of our day, we see this playing out before our very eyes. We see individual believers and entire congregations who are falling prey to false doctrine. They forsake the truth for the lie that’s given to them.
We also see many who allow themselves to be seduced. Wanting to believe that they can be forgiven and, at the same time, gratify their sinful desires, they give in to temptation. As it’s commonly said, they seek to have their cake and eat it too.
Peter compares such people to a dog returning to its vomit. He compares them to a pig who, after being washed, returns to the mire. They return to the filth that once characterized their life.
As we see in the above passage, the consequences of falling away are severe. Peter tells us that, if we’re once again entangled in sin after being saved from it, our condition is worse than it was in the beginning. It’s worse because we’ve rejected the salvation provided for us by Jesus.
He goes on to say that it would’ve been better if we’d never known the way of righteousness. The heart that was once enlightened has now become hardened against the truth by which we are saved. And this makes it much more difficult for us to return to Christ.
As believers, we are called by God to leave behind the old life in favor of the new. As Paul tells us in Romans 6, we have died to sin. We’ve been united with Christ that we might walk in newness of life.