if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials1 and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment,2 while continuing their punishment.a10
This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire3 of the sinful natureb and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings;411
yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.512
But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.613
They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight.7 They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.c814
With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce9 the unstable;10 they are experts in greed11--an accursed brood!1215
They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam13 son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.
But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey--a beast without speech--who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness.1417
These men are springs without water15 and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.1618
For they mouth empty, boastful words17 and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping18 from those who live in error.
They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.1920
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing20 our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ21 and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.2221
It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.2322
Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit,"d24 and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."