by Steve Kearns
As I was reading in 2 Peter 2 today my thoughts strayed back to vs. 19 over and over again. I wanted a better understanding of the word depravity so I went to my “Random House Webster College Dictionary” for help. I was a little shocked when I found the word vitiate, I will get to that in a bit.
Here is what Mr. Webster had to say, de-prav-ity 1. The state of being depraved. 2. A depraved act or practice. Okay so what did he have to say about depraved? de-praved, morally corrupt or perverted. I understood that pretty well. (my life before Christ) So what does Webster say about the root of these two words? de-prave, 1. To make morally bad or evil, vitiate; corrupt. 2. To impair or weaken the effectiveness of. 3. To debase; corrupt; or spoil. 4. To make legally invalid; invalidate; to blemish.
Going back to vs. 19 (NIV) it says “they themselves were slaves of depravity – for a man is a slave to whatever has Mastered him.” With that in mind remember the word vitiate? (vitiate for a believer means) a Christian who is Mastered by or a slave to sin has 1. Impaired the quality of his or her Christianity, 2. Weakened the effectiveness of his or her Christianity, 3. Debased, corrupted or spoiled their faith and witness for Christ, 4. Has invalidated or blemished their witness or effectiveness as a Christian.
So my question is, as a believer can I be enslaved to, or mastered by sin and still be an effective witness for Christ? I say absolutely not!
As I read on to vs. 20 God’s word bears that out, “If they had escaped the corruption ofthe world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.”
God’s desire for believers is that we be witnesses for Christ in a corrupt and fallen world, a good witness not a bad witness!