"For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse. . .For it would be better if they never knew the way of righteousness, than having known it to only turn away from the holy Commandment handed to them." 2 Peter 2:20-21
Sin will so easily entangle us if we give it an opportunity. An unchecked thought becomes a feeling, the feeling turns into a desire, the desire twists into lust and lust conceived gives birth to sin. Lust is nothing more than an unlawful desire. When a person follows his own lust he has said no to God. And when sin has accomplished itís goal it brings forth death.
As we see in our text, when a sinner comes to Christ he has escaped the defilements of the world. He was once defiled and separated from God, but now in Christ has been made new, pure and blameless. How? "By the knowledge of the Lord and the Savior Jesus Christ."
Knowledge followed leads a person to salvation but if that person stops along the Way and turns back towards defilement and destruction, "the last state has become worse than the first." It would have been better for that person to have never known the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, than to have known only to later turn back.
Peter went on to say that he who does this is like a dog who returns to his own vomit. When a person repents he is vomiting up all those things which have served to defile him. He has cast from his life all disobedience and rebellion. He has exchanged deception and the lie for the absolute truth. He has moved from darkness to light. He has passed from curse to blessing and from death to life. How sad it must be to the Lord to see such turn from the blessing back to the curse and from life back to death.
Jesus said that the heart of man was evil and that wicked thoughts begin the process of defiling the person. He said that evil thoughts, murders, (which include hatred) adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness and slanders are things which defile a person. Anything which is contrary to the will and instruction of God serves to defile.
The context of our text concerns the traditions of men and the Commandments of God. The Jewish leaders had questioned Jesus as to why His disciples did not wash their hands before they ate. Jesus replied with a question of His own, -"Why do you transgress the Commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?" This compares favorably with His later rebuke, -"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence."
These religious leaders had been defiled by transgressing the Commandment of God for the sake of their own tradition, -"having known it to only turn away from the holy Commandment handed to them."