For if God did not spare the angels who sinned but consigned them to the lower depths of darkness where they are kept for judgment; and if he did not spare the ancient world, but did protect Noah, the herald of righteousness, with seven others, while he let loose the flood on the world of the impious; and if he doomed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, making them an example of what is in store for the impious; and if he rescued the righteous Lot, who was afflicted by the vicious behavior of these lawless people (for, righteous as he was and living among them, by what he saw and heard day after day he was tormented in his righteous soul by their lawless behavior); then the Lord knows how to rescue the pious from their ordeal and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the Day of Judgment; especially those who follow the flesh in lust for corruption, and who despise high authority. Daring, headstrong, they do not tremble before glorious creatures, but insult them; whereas angels, who are greater in strength and power than they, do not insult them as they demand judgment against them.
But these men, like unreasoning beasts, creatures of nature bred to be caught and slaughtered, insulting what they do not understand, will be slaughtered as such beasts are slaughtered, damaged for the damage they have done. They think of happiness as the luxury of the day, they are blots and blemishes who revel in their own beguilements as they share your feasts. They have eyes that are full of adultery, insatiable in sinning, and they seduce unstable souls since their hearts are well practiced in serving their greed. Children of the curse, they left the straight road and went astray, following the course of Balaam the son of Beor, who longed for the wages of wickedness but was reproved for this transgression; a dumb beast spoke in a human voice and stopped the madness of the prophet.
These men are waterless springs, clouds before the whirlwind; the dark of hell is in store for them. For speaking loud in their lewdness they seduce, through the lusts of the flesh, through depravity, some who are barely escaping from the wrong way of life. They promise them freedom, being themselves the slaves of corruption; for anyone is the slave of one to whom he has lost. If they once escaped from the defilements of the world by recognizing the Lord and savior Jesus Christ, and then once more are involved in these and overcome, what happened to them last is worse than what happened first. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, having known it, to turn back from the holy commandment that was handed down to them. What has happened to them is what is in the true proverb: The dog returns to his vomit; and: The sow washed clean goes back to roll in the mud.
This, dear friends, is the second letter I have written you, to quicken the pure purpose in you by reminding you: that you should remember the words spoken of old by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and savior from your apostles. But first understand this, that in these final days mockers will come with their mockery, people who go the way of their own desires, who will say: Where is the promise of his coming? For since our fathers were laid to rest, all things remain as they have been since the original creation. But they are unaware, as they wish to be, that the skies existed from of old, and the earth formed from water and standing in the water, by the word of God; and through these waters the earth was flooded with water and perished. And by the same word the skies that are now and the earth that is now are stored away for the fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and the destruction of impious people.
Do not forget this one thing, dear friends; that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow with his promise, as some think it is slowness; but he is patient with you, because he does not want any to be destroyed, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and on it the heavens will disappear with a sizzling noise, and the heavenly bodies will fall apart in flames, and the earth and the things inside it will be laid open. When all these things break up, how great is the need for you to keep to the saintly and pious life, expecting and urging on the coming of the day of God, when the heavens will fall apart in fire and the heavenly bodies melt in the flames. Then, according to his promise, let us look for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness resides. (2 Peter 2:4-3:13; trans. Richmond Lattimore)