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For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

2:18 great swelling words. “Vanity” here means “emptiness.” False teachers have the remarkable ability of clothing vapid thought in pseudo-intellectual verbiage.

2:18 clean escaped. “Clean escaped” should better read “just escaping.” The picture here is of people who have been given some information about God and His salvation and are interested in learning more, but they have not yet accepted Christ as Savior.

2:18 live in error. They have been associating with a crowd of people who literally “order their whole lives” around error—that is, willingly rejecting God and wanting nothing to do with living under His domain.

2:19 servants of corruption. These who are preaching freedom to these undecided inquirers are themselves slaves of corruption, in absolute bondage to sin.

2:20 latter end is worse. It is thus very dangerous to know how to be saved and to understand the complete situation mentally, and then deliberately to turn Christ down. This is the same situation as described in Hebrews 6:4-6 and 10:26-31.

2:21 known the way of righteousness. Knowledge is necessary, but knowledge alone is insufficient for salvation. One must not only know the basic facts about salvation, but must receive Christ as personal Savior in true repentance and faith.

2:22 proverb. Proverbs 26:11 is cited here in part.

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