Scripture Text – 2 Peter 2:1-9
We conclude with Peters warning to the church to be alert and vigilant. This is the third and final of the three aspects addressing the subject of false teachers in the church.
The True Believers Delivered – Continued
(God) did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations . . . – 2 Peter 2:5-9a.
Lot (verses 6-9a) – Continued. God enabled Lot and his family to remain unscathed by the corruption and wickedness, even though they were living in the midst of a cesspool of iniquity. God also rescued Lot and two of his daughters before the judgment fell on Sodom and the other cities of the plain (see again Genesis 19). Lot was not rescued because of any merit on his part. He was rescued because he was a believer and because his Uncle Abraham had prayed for him. Abraham outside of Sodom had more influence than Lot inside the city. Lot even lost his testimony to his own family, for his married daughters and their husbands laughed at his warning, and his wife disobeyed God and was killed.
Lot CHOSE to live in Sodom and could have avoided the filthy influence of the place, but many people today really have no choice and must live surrounded by the evils emanating from the world. Think of the Christian slaves who had to serve godless masters, or Christian wives married to unsaved husbands, or believing children with unsaved parents. Christian employees working in offices or factories are forced to see and hear things that can easily stain the mind and heart. Years ago I was talking to my brother-in-law, also a Pastor about situations like this and he made the statement that these things “bruise” the soul. I’ve never forgotten that. So, Peter wants to assure his readers and us that God knows how to “deliver the godly out of temptations.” – 2 Peter 2:9, so that we may live victoriously.
He also is able to rescue us from judgment. In Noah’s case, it was a judgment of water, but in Lot’s case it was a judgment of fire. The cities of the plain were caught in a violent overthrow as the area became a vast furnace of fire and brimstone. This certainly would parallel Peter’s warning about the COMING judgment of fire (see again 2 Peter 3:10-12).
Peter was not pointing to Lot as an example of separated living, but rather as an example of one whom God rescued from spiritual darkness and condemnation. In a sense, Lot was even rescued against his will, because the angels had to grasp him by the hand and pull him out of the city (Genesis 19:16). Lot had entered Sodom, and then Sodom had entered Lot, and he found it difficult to leave.
Our Lord used both Noah and Lot to warn us to be prepared for His return (Luke 17:26–37). The people in Sodom were enjoying their regular pleasures, careless of the fact that judgment was coming; when it came, they were unprepared. “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.” – 2 Peter 3:14.
But the same God who delivers the godly also reserves the ungodly for judgment. It has well been said that if God spares today’s cities from judgment, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. Why is God’s judgment lingering? Simply because God “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9. Society in Noah’s day had 120 years in which to repent and believe, yet they rejected the truth. Though Lot’s example and testimony were weak, he at least represented the truth; yet his immoral neighbors wanted nothing to do with God.
Our present age is not only like “the days of Noah,” but it is also like “the days of Lot.” Many believers have abandoned the place of separation and are compromising with the world. The organized church has but a weak testimony to the world and sinners do not really believe that judgment is coming. Society is full of immorality, especially the kind of sin for which Sodom was famous. It appears as though God is slumbering, unconcerned about the way rebellious sinners have polluted His world. But one day the fire will fall; then it WILL be too late.
God’s people, as weak as some are, will be delivered from judgment by the grace and mercy of God. God could not judge Sodom until Lot and his family were out of the city. Likewise, it is my fervent belief that God will not send wrath on this world until He takes His own people out and home to Heaven. “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:9–10.
One day soon, the fire is going to fall. Are you ready?