4 “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.” (2 Peter 2:4-9)
The Apostle Peter begins an extensive paragraph of three causal statements of past truths which are collectively followed by a summarizing effect statement of a future promise. In case anyone believes that God is too loving to judge sin and sinners, Peter provides three biblical and historical examples of God’s judgement on the wicked. These three examples of God’s past judgment set a precedent for God’s future judgment upon all who would rebel against His rule and reign.
For the next several days, we will examine each illustration Peter provides. There will be references to the Old Testament texts of which these illustrations are drawn. None of these examples should be unfamiliar to the student of Scripture.
The illustrations Peter cites as instances of God’s past judgment include (1) the angels who rebelled in heaven; (2) the flood upon the ancient world; and (3) the destruction of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. As one commentator explains, “Though God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11), He must judge wickedness because His holiness requires it (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).”
Dr. John Walvoord writes that, “Peter gave several illustrations to demonstrate both the Lord’s judgment and His deliverance. After citing three examples of punishment (vv. 4–6), Peter then cited a case of deliverance (Lot, v. 7). In fact, verses 4–9 are a single sentence, one of the longest in the New Testament. Peter was intent on demonstrating that God will judge false teachers and others who sin against Him and His Word. History, What Peter wrote, gives ample verification of this truth.”
As we study this lengthy section, may each of us be in prayer for those we know who are facing God’s future judgment because of the fallen, unconverted condition. Pray that God will regenerate them by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel.
Soli deo Gloria!