"These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved." (2 Peter 2:17)Peter is concluding his diatribe against false prophets and false teachers. He calls them springs without water and a mist driven by the storm. They hold the promise of water but are themselves dry and empty. Those who look to them for a drink and for refreshing are disappointing because they are not what they seem; they say they have but fail to give. They are those who have no portion in the Kingdom of Light but are destined for the darkness of eternity.
"For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved." (2 Peter 2:18-19)
We must not judge people, nor their message, by the greatness of their words, either by the expanse or the eloquence of their speeches, for these things are not a determinant of the truth. There are many men and women of polish who say great and lofty things, but this does not of necessity make them true. Of greater purport is to what they are appealing. If their words appeal to the flesh or to self, then great care must be given. For some might promise freedom, such as freedom from law, but if it is a promise that leads to licentiousness, then the later outcome will be worse than the first. For example, those who preached the sexual revolution of the sixties promised freedom from "old fashion" cultural norms but, instead, they lead a generation into new levels of bondage to the flesh.
"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 them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, 'A dog returns to its own vomit' and, 'A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.' " (2 Peter 2:20-22)
Jesus put it this way, "Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation." (Matthew 12:43-45) Peter's warning to us is that, once being set free, that we would not return to bondage, especially bondage to the flesh. The key in all of this is to pursue Jesus. When we pursue men we become susceptible to their wiles and to their special brand of heresy. This is not to say that all are heretics, for most are not, but we are to pursue the Lord and His word not a man and his word. When our focus is on the Lord then the lies of the pretender will be more easily identified. However, when we loose focus on the Lord and follow a man, then we are may be easily fooled by their deceptive ways.