Aug 13 - When Religion Goes Bad

When Religion Goes Bad

August 13, 2017

2 Peter 2



2 Peter 2

August 13th, 2017




Continuing in a series in 2 Peter.


The main concern for the author of 2 Peter, is that his readers could potentially fall away from the faith instead of following the truth.  He wants them to be so firmly established in God, that they cannot be shaken by any temptation or false teaching. 


In chapter 1, Peter reminds his readers of the divine power that is changing them; he encourages them to make every effort to add certain character qualities to their faith; and he tells them that the message of Jesus is not just pious myth but based on eyewitness accounts and fulfilled prophecy. 


Now he shifts gears in order to warn his readers about the false prophets and teachers who had infiltrated the church.  As he does, he picks up a lot of the same themes and examples that are found in the book of Jude.  To begin with Peter contrasts the prophets of old with current self-proclaimed teachers.


1. False teachers will spread lies (that is, heresies or false teachings that are actually harmful and destructive)


In Jude these people are not specifically identified, whole Peter calls them false teachers.


2 Peter 2:1

Jude 4

However, false prophets also arose among the people (of Israel), just as there (are and) will be false teachers among you.  They will smuggle in[1] destructive heresies[2], even denying the Master who bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Certain people have crept in unnoticed ... ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality.  


Just as there were false prophets in OT times, so there are and will continue to be false teachers in the church.  While Peter is using the future tense here, he is actually speaking about something that clearly is already happening. 


The wording implies that whatever the false teaching or heresies consists of, it is disseminated in an underhanded, surreptitious, sneaky manner. 


Implied in the wording of the parallel passage in Jude 4, those heresies likely have to do with a misinterpretation of Paul’s teaching that salvation is by grace and not by works, which was taken to mean that a person can just do whatever they please, particularly when it comes to their sexuality.  Immorality is OK because salvation is by grace.


But what else do these destructive heresies consist of?  In order to answer that, I will need to jump forward in the chapter, where Peter gives us more detail.


I’ve again put 2 Peter and Jude side by side, in order to point out the significant overlap between the two (see the words highlighted with yellow font). 


2 Peter 2:10-19

Jude 8-16



indulge sexual desires;

are insatiable for sin

follow their sinful desires

carouse in broad daylight

defile the flesh

despise authority

reject authority

blaspheme the “glorious ones”

blaspheme the “glorious ones” (e.g. Satan)

blaspheme what they are ignorant of

blaspheme what they don’t understand

have left the straight path

walk in the way of Cain



like Balaam, love to receive money for doing wrong;

are expertly trained in greed

went the way of Balaam[3] and Korah[4] for financial gain

are blots and blemishes as they delight in their deceptions while feasting with you

are hidden reefs (or: blemishes) at your love feasts (agape meals)

are waterless springs and clouds

are waterless clouds

boast loudly about their foolishness

are loudmouthed boasters


entice the unstable (into sin);

entice new believers with sensual pleasure

are wild waves of the sea casting up the foam of shame

have eyes full of adultery

are wandering stars

promise freedom


but are slaves to corruption



In this last slide you will notice that there is no verbal overlap.  (Jude also lists 4 things that are true of these people that are not listed in 2 Peter. [5]


Let me just quickly comment on the last two left-hand columns.  Peter writes that the false teachers promise freedom.  That is likely freedom to do as they please, to live as they want.


They (the false teachers) promise them (those who listened to them) freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person to that he is a slave.                                                  2 Peter 2:19


The so-called sexual revolution is said to have led to freedom from sexual repression. We are now at a place in history where human sexuality is being redefined right before our very eyes... and the eyes of our children based on that kind of freedom. 


Children are encouraged to choose their gender regardless of their physical identity.  They are told to explore their sexuality in a variety of ways and with a variety of people. In other words, the sexual revolution has progressed from having sex while dating, to having sex without dating.  No development of relationship or commitment necessary.  No self-giving love needed.  No meaningful connections necessary.


By the way, this is based on the more common belief that we have the freedom to do whatever we want, without anyone, including God, telling us what we can or cannot do, what we should or shouldn’t do.  It is all about following our self-interests.


However, as Peter points out, freedom to do anything at all isn’t really freedom at all because any of our desires can enslave us.  True freedom is the freedom to do the right thing, the ethical thing, the moral thing. 


Maybe a question worth exploring is just how much we and our teenage children have come to the conclusion that God no longer has a place in our private lives.


If you look through the description of the false teachers in 2 Peter 2 a number of times, there are some recurring themes: 


Blaspheming spiritual powers.

Indulging in sexual sin.

Enticing others in the church to do likewise (possibly taking advantage of them).

Being full of promises, but not able to deliver.

Being greedy and trying to get rich through their involvement in the church. 


Does any of this ring a bell?  What about cults that are led by sexual predators?  What about the health and wealth gospel?  What about the belief that God HAS to give us what we want ... that he owes us happiness and fulfillment? What about TV evangelists who enrich themselves on the backs of their viewers? 


You can see how a misinterpretation of the apostle Paul’s teaching on grace can go down these particular rabbit holes. 


Another part of the heresy is what Peter terms the denial of the Master.  The picture here is of a slave and the slave master.  The slave denies the master, likely because he simply stops obeying him.  But is that all it means?


2. False teachers will deny Christ 


2 Peter 2:1

Jude 4

However, false prophets also arose among the people (of Israel), just as there (are and) will be false teachers among you.  They will smuggle in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Certain people have crept in unnoticed ... who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.


Jude makes it clear that the Master is the Messiah Jesus. 

So perhaps the denial had to do with a rejection of a key doctrinal component about Jesus’ identity.  Maybe they denied that he was God’s Son, or they denied that he was resurrected and would come again.  They might also have denied Jesus as their master.  In other words, they were not under obligation to obey Jesus’ teaching (cf. 2:10, they despise authority). 


3. False teachers will be destroyed


2 Peter 2:1

Jude 4

However, false prophets also arose among the people (of Israel), just as there (are and) will be false teachers among you.  They will smuggle in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for destruction ....


Peter is telling his readers that those who teach these falsehoods and use religion for their own purposes, will be destroyed, and that in the relative near future, Peter could possibly be pointing out that they will die soon as a direct result of their sin ... like the idea of instant karma, if you will. 


In fact, it seems that sickness and death are sometimes the result of sin, as the apostle Paul points out with regard to the misuse of the Lord’s Supper or communion.[6] 


The concept of God punishing humans is something that a lot of people have problems with. If God is a God of love who desires the best for people and wishes that all people would spend eternity with him, why would he allow bad things to happen, and why would he ever judge and punish people?


There are a number of problems with that kind of question. 


  1. Bad things happen due to natural causes


For one, the question about God’s punishment does not take into account the fallen nature of creation where suffering and death are simply part and parcel of the way things are. 


  1. Bad things happen due to human choice


The question does not take into account that human beings have free will.  This results in them making some bad decision and choices that will hurt themselves and others.  I have heard it said that no one ends up in hell who hasn’t persistently chosen to be there.


  1. God is holy and cannot simply accept sin


Thirdly, the question ignores the holiness of God.  The gods and goddesses of the Greek and Roman pantheon were much like humans in their sinfulness.  But not so the God of the Bible.


  1. Good parents discipline the children they love


Fourthly, the question does not take into account that God, like a good father who loves his children, may use punishment, in the form of negative consequences, as a form of disciple or correction.[7]


But to get back to 2 Peter, this concept of the imminent destruction of the false teachers is something that is repeated over and over again in 2 Peter 2.  Here are some examples:


v.3 “... their condemnation, which has long been hanging over them, will not linger, and their destruction will not sleep.


vv.12-13 “They ... will be destroyed as a result of their corruption,[8] suffering evil as the wage of their own wrongdoing.


v. 17 “For them deepest darkness[9] has been reserved.”


Peter may be warning his readers that if they, like the false teachers, should distort with untruths the truth about God and his will, then there will be a price to be paid, possibly the destruction of their physical bodies.


Or perhaps the price is the loss of their eternal souls, an eternity without God.  According to Peter, there is no entrance into God’s kingdom or heaven for the false teachers.      


On the one hand, I strongly believe that the principles as found in the Bible are relevant to living a positive life, positive in relation to oneself, to others, and to God. I believe that if we follow the principles and commandments as set out in the Bible, then we will live a positive, fulfilled and joy-filled life.


But I also realize that our faith is more than just a self-help tool.  There is more to our faith than knowing how to relate positively to others and how to live a good life.  While an important concern in Christian preaching, teaching, and counseling includes relational and emotional health, that is, that we should and can modify our thinking and therefore our behaviour, thus living positive, productive and happy lives,  However, that is NOT the most important thing.


What sets the church apart from all other human institutions is the fact that the most weighty concern has to do, not with physical or psychological health, but with an eternal soul


Isn’t it interesting that the apostolic teaching was opposed with false and destructive explanations and applications from the very beginning of the church. 


The seriousness of the spiritual error of the false teachers is not only seen in the verses that deal with their destruction, but also with the three historical examples that Peter gives of how a holy God cannot simply ignore decisions to live ongoing sinful lifestyles.


Examples of the destruction of the immoral:


  1. The fallen angels


2 Peter 2:4

Jude 6

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell (lit. Tartarus) and committed them to pits of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment ...    

And the angels, who did not remain in their own ranks but left their own dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until their judgment on the great day ...


Angels are the most glorious and mighty spiritual beings under God.  But all their power and dignity was of no use when they sinned.  They were cast from God’s presence and are imprisoned in these pits of darkness until the great judgement day. 


[In a sense, the angelic fall was a form of dying for the angels.  Like humans leave this natural world when they die, so the angels were forced to leave their world.


This is one of the few verses in the whole Bible that speak about the fall of the angels.  Another is found In Revelation 12 where we read about a great red dragon who swept a third of the stars from heaven, and cast them on the earth.  Stars was a common code in Jewish apocalyptic literature for angelic beings.


We then read of the archangel Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon and the dragon’s angels.  Subsequently the dragon, who by then is identified as the devil or Satan, was cast to the earth along with his angels.


While the Bible hasn’t much to say about the fall of the angels, there was a lot of extra-biblical Jewish literature that had been written and was available to the Jews and Christians of the first century.  One of those is the books is 1st Enoch, originally written about 200 years before Christ’s birth.[10]  In fact, the author of Jude actually quotes from this document, so he definitely had read it.[11]


In 1 Enoch, the angelic fall was due to angels being attracted to human women and leaving heaven to come to earth in order to marry them (6:1-2, 7:1).  This view is based on the biblical account in Genesis 6:2, where the sons of God are said to have seen how attractive the daughters of men were and so took them as their wives.[12] ]


While Peter does not spell out the angel’s sin in detail, the context of the parallel passage in Jude 6, makes it clear that the writer of Jude thought that the angels committed a sexual sin (Jude 7: they were sexually immoral[13] and pursued unnatural desires[14], like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.[15]  


[In 1 Enoch, Enoch takes a journey through the underworld and sees an underground chamber containing the fallen angels (17:14), and other underground chambers containing humans (22), all of them conscious and waiting for the great day of God’s judgment.]


But maybe the example of the angels isn’t sufficient to make that point understood.  So let’s look at another example.


Examples of the destruction of the immoral:


b. The people at the time of Noah


... if God did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; ...

                                                                   2 Peter 2:5


In Genesis 6, after the union between the sons of God and the daughters of men, we read that things got a lot worse.  We subsequently read:


YHWH saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually.  ... So YHWH said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land ...” But Noah found favour in the eyes of YHWH.

                                                          Genesis 6:5-8


If the false prophets and teachers do not learn the lesson from the fallen angels, let them learn it from the example of the flood.  God swept away the ungodly.  They all drowned in the waters of the flood.


[By the way, in 1 Enoch, the reason why things got so bad is for one, because the fallen angels taught all kind of witchcraft to the people, as well as the construction of better weapons (7:2; 8:1-3), and because of the children of the angels and humans, ended up giants who were particularly evil, cannibalistic and drinking blood, just two of their horrible deeds (7:3-5; 9:9).  These giants drowned in the flood but their spirits survived and became demons who oppress, corrupt and cause sorrow (15:8 - 16:1).]


The third example that Peter uses is the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which we read about in Genesis 19.[16]


Defining examples of the destruction of the immoral:


c. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah


2 Peter 2:6

Jude 7

... if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, God condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly ...

... just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which indulged in sexual immorality and unnatural desires, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.


The next verse in 2 Peter goes on to speak of God’s rescue of righteous Lot who was greatly distressed at what he saw happening in Sodom where he lived.


If the case of the fallen angels and the case of Noah’s generation are not clear signs to some that the destruction of the false teachers is certain, then maybe the example of the Sodom and Gomorrah will do so. 


These are the three situations that exemplify that the destroyed of those who lead immoral lives.  However, implied in all of this is that those so destroyed, will also have to face a future judgment that goes beyond physical death. 


1. False teachers will spread lies (heresies)

2. False teachers will deny Christ

3. False teachers will be destroyed

4. False teachers will destroy the message (the good news) about Jesus


Many will follow their shameful ways and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.         2 Peter 2:2


Makes sense.  If all I see are sexual predators in the church or perhaps in the church leadership, or if all I see are self-proclaimed prophets getting rich on the back of their supporters, I would become extremely cynical about the whole Christian thing myself.


1. False teachers will spread lies (heresies)

2. False teachers will deny Christ

3. False teachers will be destroyed

4. False teachers will destroy the message about Jesus

5. False teachers will be judged eternally


The fallen angels are kept in Tartarus until the judgment day.  Those that drowned in the flood or died during the destruction of the cities all face a future judgment as well.


By the way, the Rabbinic teaching in the first century limited eternal judgment to a relative few number of people.  However they did include those who drowned in the flood and the men of Sodom (as well as the clan of Korah, found in the list in Jude).[17]

 Now notice how Peter summarizes these examples:

Here is the lesson:  If all these things are so,


... then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials (or: temptations) and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.                                2 Peter 2:9-10


Again, notice that the unrighteous are kept “under punishment until the day of judgment.” 


This seems to be implying that the dead are conscious until the day of judgment.  Paul seems to say the same thing when he comments that being absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8).  Jesus also seems to be implying this with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31 - Lazarus is in Abraham’s bosom, where there is water, and the rich man in agony in the flames of hades, a place of torment).


Now Peter ends this chapter with a very strong statement.


1. False teachers will spread lies (heresies)

2. False teachers will deny Christ

3. False teachers will be destroyed

4. False teachers will destroy the message about Jesus

5. False teachers will be judged eternally

6. False teachers are better off had they never believed


In the last verses of the passage,   


They are slaves to corruption.  For whatever overcomes a person to that he is a slave.  They had escaped the defilements of the world because they had the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  If they are again entangled in and overcome by them, they are worse off than they were at first.                        2 Peter 2:19-20


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 proverb says has happened to them.  The dog returns to his own vomit and the washed sow returns to wallow in the mud.                              2 Peter 2:21-22


What is Peter saying?  Apparently there is the real possibility that someone starts out by accepting the good news about Jesus.  By all appearances they have escaped what Peter calls “the corruption of the world.”  But then something happens.  They turn their back on “the holy command,” likely in reference to the commandment of acting in love toward others, and they are entangled again and overcome by whatever they are tempted with in the world.  Better had they not turned to Christ in the first place!


This is actually a reflection of Jesus’ own teaching.  He told a number of stories as recorded in Luke 12.  One of the points that he makes is that the one who knows the will of God, but doesn’t do it, will incur a stricter judgment than the one who did not know God’s will to begin with.[18]  Jesus concludes that point with, “Everyone to whom much is given, of him much will be required.” 


When we receive a prescription for antibiotics from our GP, we are told to take the medicine until the pills run out.  We are not to stop taking the antibiotics when we feel better, possibly because our sore throat clears up.  If we do, and the infection is still there, it will flare up worse than before. 


The reference to the dog and the pig is really Peter’s way of saying that we shouldn’t be surprised that this is happening.  Dogs characteristically return to eat their own vomit, and, no matter how you may scrub a pig for the fall fair, when it returns to its pen it will wallow again in the dirt. 


In other words, those who leave the way of righteousness, the life as God would want his people to live, simply indicates that the inner nature had never been changed.


I read an article online this week about how many cult leaders have a narcissistic personality disorder.  They may feign concern for others, but really are only in for themselves and have no qualms in taking advantage of others.


On the other hand, a person who does not fall away into a hedonistic lifestyle and the false teaching to support it, actually have eternal salvation.


As Jesus said,

He who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt 10:22). 


Or as the book of Hebrew puts it, “We share in Christ if we hold our first confidence firm to the end” (Heb 3:14). 


Or as the apostle Paul puts it: “I preached to you the good news which you received.  In it you stand and by it you are saved, if you hold fast to it” (1 Cor. 15:1,2). 


Or as the writer of 1 John says, “They left us, but they were not part of us, for if they had been, they would have stayed.  By leaving they made it clear that they were never part of us” (1 John 2:19).


The whole NT is in agreement ... genuine faith needs to last.  And a faith that lasts is one that reflects God’s will in the kind of life that is lived. 


So as a pastor, it’s really easy to apply this message to myself.  Am I a false teacher who, much like the false prophets of OT times, proclaims a message that presumes on God’s grace?  Or have I become obsessed with making money and getting rich?  Or do I despise any kind of authority other than my own?  Or do I proclaim that Christians are no longer bound by Jesus’ teaching?[19] 


I mean, there’s a LOT in this chapter to think about.  But what about you?  What is the one thing that you could possibly take home from this message?


Now, I’ve entitled this message, “when religion goes bad.” I guess I would want us to think about this in two ways, reflected in these two questions:




We need to have the discernment to figure out whether or not a spiritual leaders are sound. The amount of gullibility is sometimes astonishing. Who in the world would send their hard earned money to someone out to enrich themselves on the backs of the faithful?  Who in the world would strap bombs to children in the name of God?  Who in the world would listen to end-time predictions by self-proclaimed prophets?  Who in the world would be taken in by charismatic narcissists?  Who in the world would listen to the health and wealth nonsense?  LOTS OF PEOPLE, that’s who!


On the other hand, we have to stop thinking that spiritual leaders have to be perfect.  Or that they have to be exactly like Jesus.  Those are simply unrealistic expectations.


The second question I would like us to think about is this:




We need to look at the nature of our own faith ... is it wholesome, balanced, helpful? Is it kind, is it healing?


Or, on the other hand, is it harsh, unbalanced, unkind or hurtful?  Does it detract from the message of Jesus, or maybe even put that message into disrepute? 


I am reminded of someone who used to attend this church many years back who beat his wife, threatened his neighbours, and would swear a blue streak at the slightest provocation. And yet he considered himself to be a spiritual leader. 


Again, none of us will perfectly reflect the character of Jesus at all times, but I think that in general terms our lives need to reflect the fact that the message of Jesus is good news not bad news.  


I wonder if that is what the apostle Paul was thinking about when he wrote the following to the church of Corinth which was filled with some pretty dysfunctional people:


Examine yourselves in order to see whether or not you are in the faith ... test yourselves!  Don’t you perceive within yourselves that Christ is in you?  If not, then you are disqualified.[20]                                      2 Corinthians 13:5


So my hope and prayer is that in this somewhat convoluted sermon, God has been able to speak some truth into your heart.  Let us pray.


[1] Gk. pareisagein = secretly bring in

[2] Gk. haireseis aptoleias = (false) opinions of destruction

[3] Balaam was paid money to curse the Israelites but instead pronounced blessings upon them (Num 22-24).  According to Num 31:16, the marriages of Israelite men with women from Moab/Midian (the two people groups were not identical, Moab being further north along the Dead Sea, while Midian was beside the Gulf of Aqaba. but they are closely connected in the Bible - cf. Num 22:4), which led to apostasy from God and worship of the Baal of Peor (Num 25:1-9), was the result of the advice of Balaam (to the Moabite women?).  Balaam was killed by the Israelites when they killed every Midian male in retribution (Num 31:8).

[4] Korah led a rebellion of 250 leaders and their clans against Moses and Aaron’s leadership (as recounted in Numbers 16:1-40).  God punished twofold.  First he had the ground swallow up Korah, two of his close associates and all of their families (possibly more), and then he sent fire from heaven to consume 250 who were offering incense to him.  However, the people complained that Moses (not God) had killed the people of YHWH.  Subsequently God killed 14,700 people with a plague (6:41-49).

[5] In Jude, the “certain people” are also called fruitless trees, dead and uprooted, grumblers and malcontents, who show favouritism to gain an advantage, and who rely on dreams.

[6] 1 Cor 11:30 - The one who partakes of the Lord’s supper without recognizing the body, will receive judgment.  That is why many among the Corinthians are sick and a number of them have died.

[7] Proverbs 3:11-12: My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD or hate his correction, because the LORD disciples those he loves, as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights. This is quoted in Hebrews 12:5-6 and adds in 12:7: Endure suffering as discipline, God is treating you as sons.

[8] Literally, in their corruption indeed they will be corrupted.  Jude 10 states that they are destroyed by all that they understand instinctively.

[9] Literally, the gloom of outer darkness.  In Jude 13, the gloom of darkness is said to be reserved for them for eternity.  Jesus taught about the outer darkness.  For example, in Matt 8:12; 22:13; and 25:30, Jesus pointed out with regard to some Jews (sons of the kingdom), the person at the banquet without wedding clothes, and the worthless servant in the parable of the talents respectively, they will be thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

[10] The book is a composition with the earlier sections dating to c. 300 BC and the later sections to maybe 75 BC. 


Jude 14-15

1 Enoch 1:9

Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones

to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way,

and all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

Behold, he comes with ten thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on all and to destroy all the ungodly and to convict (or: rebuke) all flesh (because) of all the deeds of their ungodliness that they have ungodly committed [and all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him - Pseudo Cyprian, Gk.].


[12] Another interpretation of Gen 6 is that the sons of God are in reference to the descendants of Seth and the daughters of men in reference to the descendants of Cain, but that’s far-fetched as well.

[13] Gk. ekporneusasai

[14] “going away after different flesh.”

[15] “In the like manner to these”; “these” referring most likely back to the angels. 

[16] Lot invites two men (angels) to his home.  The men of Sodom want Lot to send the men out so that they can rape them.  Job offers his two daughters instead.  The angels pull Lot back inside and strike the men outside with blindness.  Lot and family leave.  God rains fire and sulfur on all of the cities of the valley, incl. Sodom and Gomorrah.  Gen 18:20 speaks of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah as serious enough to warrant God’s inspection.

[17] Mishnah, Sanhedrin 10. According to the various Rabbis the following have no share in the world to come: The one who denies the resurrection or who denies that the Mosaic Law is from heaven, an Epicurean (Epicurus saw the gods from a deistic view, materialistic and not intervening in human affairs to the point where their existence is irrelevant), the one who pronounces God’s name or who reads heretical books, the generation of the flood, the generation of the dispersion, the men of Sodom, 10 of the 12 spies, the generation of the wilderness, the clan of Korah, the people of an apostate city,

[18] The bad slave who knew his master’s will but didn’t do it will when the master was gone, receive a severe beating.  The slave who didn’t know his master’s will receive a light beating (Luke 12:47-48).  Compare Jam 3:1 - those in the church who teach others incur a stricter judgment.

[19] The difficulty in today’s world is that (other than pedophilia), that is, sexual intimacy outside of a heterosexual marriage, is no longer considered immoral (homosexual marriage, homosexual priests, living common law, etc.).  If anything, it is seen as something positive and progressive. 

[20] In the Gk. adokimos.  It can mean “depraved,” “disqualified”, “rejected”, “found worthless.”  It describes the person who has failed the test.