2 Peter 2:4-9
"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; And spared not the old world but saved Noah, the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked; (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"
In the last post, I mentioned a false teacher in the Church today with a very popular book that promotes a denial of eternal punishment. Rob Bell denies the eternality of hell in his latest book, "Love Wins", while also proclaiming a universalist gospel. His message of "good news" is that eventually everyone will be accepted into heaven even if they do not repent of their sin. My last post inluded the impending judgment of these false prophets who deny the Lord Jesus Christ. Their judgment and damnation will not tarry long, but it will last for eternity. There are many false prophets in the vein of Bell who deny the existence of hell altogether, so they don't see any form of judgment in their future. 2 Peter 2:4-9 shows how these false prophets are in serious error and if in error, then trouble as well.
God did not spare the angels from judgment for their lies and contempt, and He did not spare the old world for their wicked imagination but brought a flood of judgment upon them for their imagination which never ceased to conjure up wicked ideas. Nor did God spare Sodom and Gomorrah, but made an example out of them, to anyone desiring to live offensively towards God.
But in both the example of the judgment of the antediluvian world and the cities Sodom and Gomorrah, there were righteous men who found grace and mercy in the sight of the Lord. The apostle here is pointing out the great truth that the Lord knows just how to deliver the godly and save the righteous out of temptation.
For the antediluvian world God spared Noah, who for one hundred and twenty years preached the good news that there was room in the Ark for anyone who repented of their sin and came to God seeking forgiveness.
The same treatment was given for Lot who Peter graciously describes as godly. The story of Lot’s life is characterized by worldliness and yet he was preserved from judgment. As a result of yielding to his carnal nature, Lot’s righteous soul was vexed daily in sight and sound of the perverse acts of his neighbors the dwellers of Sodom and Gomorrah. For many christians today rather than seperating from the world like Abraham, they set their eyes on the plain of the world and it reminds them of their own sinful past.
The abiding principle that the apostle is presenting here in the ninth verse is that the Lord knows and will reserve the godly out of judgment while at the same time reserving the unjust for judgment. The rapture of the Church is the primary doctrine taught today among those who believe that the Lord will deliver His heavenly people out of the path of judgment as He did with Noah, Lot, and countless others.
There is, I believe, a practical, temporal application to this passage as well. If the Lord knows how to deliver the just out of temptation, why should that not include earthly trials as well as the wrath of the Lamb? For 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; But will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Now, the Greek word for “temptation” in both 2 Peter 2:9 as well as 1 Corinthians 10:13 are the same. So when Paul was writing this letter to the Corinthians, he wanted them to know that first, the temptations they were experiencing were common and secondly, God would be faithful to not allow them to suffer more than they had the strength to. On the contrary, He will provide a way of escape for those in temptation. The major difference in the two verses is that Paul was talking about something earthly, temporal and Peter was referring to the final judgment that would envelope all inhabitants of the world who call not Christ their Savior.