1 There were false prophets too among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive sects and deny the Master who has bought them, thus bringing on themselves swift destruction. 2 Many people will follow their immoral ways, and they will cause the true way to be maligned. 3 In their greed they will exploit you with pretended arguments. From of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not slumbered.
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but plunged them into Tartarus, and committed them to dark dungeons to await their doom, 5 and if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when he brought the flood upon the godless world; 6 and if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and overwhelmed them with ashes, as a warning to ungodly men of what was to come, 7 and saved the upright Lot who was so distressed by the immoral conduct of unprincipled men??8 for as long as that upright man lived among them, day after day his upright soul was tormented by what he saw and heard of their lawless actions??9 then the Lord knows how to rescue God-fearing people from trial and to punish wrongdoers while they are being kept for the Day of Judgment, 10 especially those who yield to their physical nature and indulge in passions that defile them, and despise authority. Rash, headstrong men! They stand in no awe of majesty, but deride beings 11 against whom even angels far superior to these beings in strength and power bring no abusive charge before the Lord. 12 These men, like unreasoning animals, mere creatures of instinct created to be caught and killed, abuse what they do not understand and will be destroyed like animals, 13 suffering wrong as the reward for their wrongdoing. They find pleasure in the indulgence of the moment; they are a stain and a disgrace, and they revel in their deceit while they join in your religious meals. 14 They have eyes for nobody but adulterous women??yes insatiable in sin. They lure unsteadfast souls. Their hearts are trained in greed. They are accursed! 15 They have left the straight path and gone astray. They have followed the path of Balaam, the son of Beor, who set his heart on dishonest gain, 16 but he was rebuked for his offense; a dumb animal spoke with a human voice and checked the prophet's madness.
17 Such men are dried-up springs, clouds driven before the storm, and they are doomed to utter darkness. 18 They utter arrogant nonsense and use physical cravings to lure into immorality men who are just escaping from among those who live in error; 19 promising them freedom when they are themselves slaves of destruction; for a man is the slave of whatever overcomes him. 20 For if after men have escaped the corrupting influences of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they again become entangled in them and are overcome by them, their final condition is worse than their former one. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of uprightness than after knowing it to have turned their backs upon the sacred command with which they had been intrusted. 22 What has happened to them shows the truth of the proverb, "A dog returns to what he has vomited up, and a sow that has washed goes back to wallow in the mire."