3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
This verse describes the degenerate condition of Cretans before they became Christians. The rationale for presenting this idea was to remind believers of their own transformation when they came to Christ.
“For” connects verses one and two with three through eight. Paul grounded duty in doctrine. Paul now gave the reason Christians should not develop a judgmental attitude toward the lost.
we ourselves [Christians] were also once foolish,
The Christians of Crete were foolish before they came to Christ. Paul included himself in this description. They were just as non-Christians are now. Believers should not forget they should give the same compassion they received when they were lost. They were “foolish” at that time because they did not grasp self-evident ideas about God. All people without Christ have this thinking.
The “foolish” obstinately digs his heels in against acknowledging the truth of God. This person refuses to yield to the convicting work of the Spirit. His headstrong attitude makes him go independent from God. He is mentally depraved from God’s viewpoint.
disobedient [not perusable],
Before becoming Christians, Cretan believers were “disobedient” to God rather than submissive. They made a clear decision not to accept God’s way or comply to God’s truth. At that time they were non-persuadable.
“Deceived” and “serving” are passive, indicating that the subjects were victims. They could not control their situation because they did not submit to or were not obedient to God. False doctrine dupes people into slavery.
By his schemes of false doctrine, Satan led Cretans astray when they were still non-Christians (2 Co 4:4). Non-Christians choose to believe something other than what God reveals; other ideas seduced them.
serving various lusts and pleasures,
By rejecting God’s truth, non-Christians yoked themselves to the results of their belief systems. They had a hidden motive for not accepting God’s offer of freedom in Christ.
Lusts and pleasures enslaved these unbelievers in their sin. Their sins put them into captivity. They relinquished their will to an anti-God system. Just as people become addicted to alcohol or drugs, false belief enslaved them to the outcomes of lusts and pleasures. They settled in subjugation to unrestrained lust and pleasure.
The principle of serving lusts and pleasures is to satisfy self by a philosophy of self-gratification. This philosophy carries a bondage with it, a lifestyle of addiction. It is difficult to get off this philosophical merry-go-round.
“Pleasures” is from a Greek word whereby we get the word hedonism. Hedonism is the insatiable pursuit of self-satisfaction.
We can become prisoners of stimulation by choice.
Those who do not know Christ allow personal stimulation to captivate them into false beliefs. They cannot free themselves from bondage without the convicting power of the Spirit.