The Danger Of Abandoning The Lord

20 If indeed they have escaped the corruption of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, only to be entangled and overcome by it again, their final condition is worse than it was at first. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then to turn away from the holy commandment passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”

2 Peter 2:20-22 BSB

Starting from the last verse, a dog and a pig illustrate an unregenerate person. The vomit and mud symbolize a sinful lifestyle. On the one hand, you have the body ejecting something harmful from within, and the other is washed clean from the outside. Both illustrations, the dog and the pig: reflects a person who at one point did 180 degrees through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. However, the person’s change of lifestyle from sin to holiness was only momentary.

In the second half of verse 20, the person seems to get caught up again with their old sin habits. This time though, the sin that the person left at first when he returns to it again becomes a stronghold in his life worst than the first time and much more harder to overcome.

In verse 21, it gives a stern warning to those who know the truth of the gospel and yet are being tempted to abandon the Lord for the pleasures of this life. The outcome will be that in hell, it will be much worse for an individual like that than for the one who never knew the whole truth of Jesus Christ and died in that state.

According to Romans 1:19-20, no one is without excuse when it comes to knowing the existence of God. For nature itself points to Him, which reveals God’s power and divine nature. If the person responds to that revelation, Jesus will then reveal Himself by sending a missionary. But if there are none, He will send an angel with the gospel (Revelation 14:6-7).

A genuine Christian will never leave Jesus (John 10:27-30), but a false convert has a high potential of denying Jesus or worshiping a different Jesus.

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Enemy

44 Then the Amorites who lived in the hills came out against you and chased you like a swarm of bees. They routed you from Seir all the way to Hormah. 45 And you returned and wept before the LORD, but He would not listen to your voice or give ear to you.

Deuteronomy 1:44-45

When the Israelites got near the land of Canaan, Moses sent scouts, 12 of them, to scout out the land. But, when they returned, they came back faithless because the people of that land were giants. They forgot what the Lord did to the Egyptians on their behalf. Ten out of twelve scouts were faithless and brought a bad report, discouraging the rest in the camp.

Because of their lack of trust in the power of the Lord, the blessing of a land flowing with milk and honey that they were going to receive got postponed for 40 years. Sometimes our disobedience will cost us dearly.

When we focus on what we can do, it will quickly become apparent that there’s no way to come out of it. But, if we learn to always turn to Jesus Christ for strength through prayer, then our circumstances won’t look that bad, and we won’t succumb to hopelessness.

The bees represent God’s enemies who are against His will. What do bees do when you come near their colony? They gang up on you and overwhelm you with stings. The demons are no different. When they attack you, it can be many, especially if your faith in the Lord is strong.

We have to remember that through the name of Jesus Christ, we have power over the enemy. They can’t harm us unless we turn away from the Lord by living in sin. The moment that happens, evil spirits will come and try to decommission your service to the Lord that He has given you to do.

Does Mark 16:17-18 Mean That All Believers Must Produce Signs?

17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be made well.”

Mark 16:17-18

Are we supposed to perform signs like speaking in tongues and not be affected by poison that enters our bodies through a snake bite or if it’s swallowed? And, are we to heal people of any sickness that they might have? Are those the signs that we must do?

The Scripture teaches that not all believers in Jesus Christ will exhibit all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The signs mentioned in verse 18, “they will pick up snakes with their hands, and if they drink any deadly poison,” are not spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12. Only speaking in tongues and healing are listed. Not only that, but it says that not every believer will have all the same gifts.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a member of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, and those with gifts of healing, helping, administration, and various tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.

1 Corinthians 12:27-31

What did Jesus mean when He said, “And these signs will accompany those who believe”? The answer is found in verse 20, which says, “And they went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked through them, confirming His word by the signs that accompanied it.” Who are the “they” in verse 20? They are the Eleven, referring to Jesus’ disciples. The Apostles and some in the early church, going back to verse 17 “And these signs will accompany those who believe,” were the ones performing signs and wonders as a confirmation to show the people that their message was from God and indeed Jesus rose from the grave. For some examples of believers showing signs and wonders read Acts 5:12, Acts 6:8, and Acts 19:11. 

As a side note, the 12 Apostles were in a separate category of their own. They did things that the other believers couldn’t do. The 12 did miracles often, and even their shadows healed people. Those who were sick believed that if Peter’s shadow were to cover them that Jesus would heal them. So, their faith was in Christ for healing. This is evident when Peter said in Acts 3:16…

By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know has been made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him that has given him this complete healing in your presence.

Acts 3:16

Can believers in Christ perform miracles today? Absolutely. But, it is whenever the Holy Spirit chooses to do so. No one can dictate to Him the best way He could use us. We are directed by God for His glory so that His will gets accomplished.