As I reflect on today’s reading I can’t help but notice the theme of knowledge. Words like judgement, thinking, and irrational are scattered throughout the text. We use these words when referring to our ability to know and to reason. This gift of intellect that God gives man separates us from the animals who act on instinct alone.
Charles Spurgeon writes,
“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”
We are called to be wise with our knowledge of Christ. The wise Christian would do everything in his ability to live out a virtuous holy life. But the men Peter talks about are, “irrational animals created for capture and destruction.” They are choosing to be like animals.
They belittle themselves to animal status when they don’t USE their intellect. When we use our knowledge for the good we are being wise. When we use it for evil we are being fools like the “dumb beast” that Peter compares the wicked men to. We must remember to let our intellect (reasoning powers) lead, lest we become like foolish animals who eat their own vomit.
Peter compares the wicked to the dog and sow because he wants to be very clear. The sins of these men are just as soiled as the animals. The dog and sow were considered filthy in the ancient world. The dog is a defilement because it “returns to its own vomit” and the sow because it“even after washing wallows in the mire.”
Plato, says that.
“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.”
These men had the knowledge of Jesus as their savior, but their desires and emotions were not led by their knowledge. There was a disconnect between the head and the heart :/ They had been converted from paganism and baptized, but how easily did their old vices come back. They loved to sin because of concupiscence (the desire to sin) which comes from our fallen human nature.
I can remember a time when I experienced concupiscence. I was coming from church with my mother and we were going to one of my favorite stores, Joanne’s Arts and Crafts. I must have been around nine or ten years old. I had never stolen before, but there in front of me were the prettiest, most colorful pencils. I had to have them. I knew my mom wouldn’t buy them for me. We were frugal.... So I simply slipped them into my little purse. I was so nervous I’d get caught. We walked through the doors and no alarms sounded. I was scot free! I proudly showed my mom the trophies. I didn’t think she’d ask about how I got them (I don’t know why) but she was so upset when I told her I stole them. She made me take them back to the cashier. I was humiliated, mortified, upset, and ashamed.
I should’ve KNOWN better. I was past the age of reason, and I had just come from Church for goodness sake! I knew stealing was breaking one of the Ten Commandments, but my desire was stronger willed than my mind. I loved the wages of wrongdoing just like the wickedness Peter talks about. The spirit is willing but the flesh is so weak.
God has mercy on both man and child, but we have to make a decision to take the knowledge given to us about good and evil. We have to turn from our backward thinking and overcome human nature with divine nature.
<3 God bless you <3