They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved. – 2 Peter 2:17-22
In our reading from Peter, we hear about those who are newly converted to Christianity, but are once again “entangled” in the defilements and licentious passions of the world. Peter says, “the last state has become worse for them than the first.”
Although Advent is not now thought of as a penitential season, it has been through the ages. That means it was a time of reflection, repentance and renewal as the faithful prepared for celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. People wanted to observe the festival forgiven and freed from their sins.
It’s not easy to escape from defilements and licentious passions which entangle us, is it? We all struggle with such temptations to sin, and some more than others. Some of us can’t stop gossiping, speaking ill of others, bearing false witness. Others are caught in a cycle of addiction, alcoholism and abuse. Where is the good news in this? We hear it in the next chapter, actually, 3:9, where Peter writes, “The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
We are convicted by the reality of our own situation: That we return to our enslavements and disobedience, time and time again. But the Lord doesn’t wish that any should perish, so he is always calling us to repentance, for the sake of forgiveness.
Prayer: Lord God, may your offer of forgiveness move us to true repentance and amendment of life, that we may truly be set free. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Advent Action: Do you know someone who struggles with sin, finding it hard to escape from it? Call them and offer your support, care and prayer.
The 2016 Advent Devotional, based on Year I of the LBW and written by Pastor David Wendel, is available for download/printing in two formats and as a daily text/email message.