“Addiction” is a dreaded word in our society, describing a person who has lost control of certain cravings in his biological system. The pull to satisfy that craving can lead the addict to do things they would never have considered before. Some are more prone to addiction than others.
The apostle Peter described a condition of addiction that does more than damage our bodies – it can ruin one’s eternal destiny. The word he used four times in his second letter is “lust”, a strong craving for things which God has forbidden.
His first mention of the concept comes in 2 Peter 1:4, where he referred to Christians as those who have “… escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (NKJV). Corruption is everywhere around us: extortion, theft, prostitution, bribery, substance abuse, and a hundred other examples. Why do these things exist on such a large scale? Peter pointed to lust as the culprit. Only those who are made “partakers of the divine image” will have power enough to resist these pulls (2 Peter 1:4). Those who give in to their lusts “walk according to the flesh” (2 Peter 2:10).
Even those who commit their lives to Christ must continue to do battle with their fleshly lusts. Peter spoke of this danger in 2 Peter 2:18: “For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.” It would be similar to a person who had just fled from a burning house being urged to come back inside to enjoy the party! Lust causes a person to lose sight of the dangers they once escaped through Christ.
Insensitivity is the final stage brought about by lust. Here’s how Peter described it: “Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts …” (2 Peter 3:3). These people scoffed at the idea of Jesus’ second coming and the judgment of all mankind, facts clearly presented in God’s word. Lust, however, had blinded them to the truth, and they lived only for the pleasures of the present moment. In Ephesians 4:19 Paul described the same condition by saying such people were “past feeling”. The conscience can be muffled by lusts.
Ours is an age in which license is granted to whatever urges people may feel. Christians feel the pull, not only from the lusts within them, but by the permission the world gives to indulge. For us there is only one solution: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).
The urges to sin are more powerful than many realize.