“For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning” (2 Peter 2:20 NKJV)

Who is in an “entangled” and “worse” condition? Understanding this verse means identifying who “they” are. There are two choices: The false teachers (2:1) that Peter has been describing or those that the false teachers “allure” (2:18). The description that “they” have “escaped” through the “knowledge” of Jesus points to the latter. These are immature believers who have been enticed back into a life of sin. How is their latter state worse? Is it because they have lost their salvation. Peter does not say this. Instead, he describes them as miserable and muddied, like a dog who returns to its vomit or a pig who returns to the mud. Unlike the unbeliever, who lives in ignorance, they wallow in sin having known better, yet once again “overcome” by it.