Divine Destruction or Deliverance

Oftentimes, one of the greatest sources of comfort and encouragement is that God is in control; what we refer to as God being sovereign. Along with that thought, is the knowledge that God is the one Who will condemn the unrighteous and God is the One who will rescue the righteous. Of course, we understand that the only ones who are truly righteous are those who are born again by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Combine what I’ve just stated with the fact that God cannot and will not lie, for He is truth. Then think about this; false teachers and deceivers are not dealing with truth. In fact, by their very teaching, they are making God out to be a liar. When reading today’s passage and the guarantee of destruction to those who deal in lies and deception and rebellion, this underscores the reality that God will certainly judge them in His perfect righteousness.
Then we continue to look at these verses and we find that those of us who follow after Jesus Christ are guaranteed deliverance just as God has promised in His Word.
We can be encouraged that God will do what He has promised.

God Will Be Able to Finalize Condemnation. - 2:3b

Will God be true to His Word? Will those who mock God and attack anything which has to do with Jesus get away with their behavior, or will there actually be consequences?
2 Peter 2:3b NASB95
and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
From what Peter is writing, even though it may look like nothing was or is going to happen, it’s a done deal. There will indeed be a day of reckoning. God’s condemnation of those who manipulate truth for their own ends has been set since He first spoke judgment on the serpent when he misled Eve with his lies and deceptions.
On this earth, it seems that many insist on being tolerant to the point that they won’t disagree when there is false information being taught about God. However, we do need to speak up, if for no other reason, that those who are teaching lies might be awakened to the Truth and repent and seek Jesus for salvation.
However, if they insist on continuing on with their deception, there will be condemnation, judgment, and destruction.

God Was Able to Fulfill Choices. - 2:4-8

How do we know that there will be condemnation? We continue to remember that God is sovereign. He is able to bring to completion our choices. They will either be hell or heaven.
2 Peter 2:4–8 NASB95
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),
Peter takes some time to give several examples of how God has worked in the past, leading us to understand that He will be quite able to do the same today and tomorrow. In Peter’s use of the word if, we would understand this to mean since. It is guaranteed.
Peter starts out by discussing those angels we refer to as fallen. This includes Satan, or Lucifer, as well as the other angels who rebelled against God The Bible doesn’t give us a lot of specifics, though there are many, over the centuries, who like to conjecture and theorize. The Old Testament does provide us with some insight from Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:11-19. Revelation 12:4 provides a clue that likely one-third of all the angels rebelled and were cast from heaven.
These fallen angels are commonly referred to as demons who are working for Satan. We must remember that none of these demons or Satan are omnipotent, omniscient, nor omnipresent. They are not all-powerful; they are not able to know all your thoughts; they cannot be everywhere at once. There are also some demons which appear to be locked up, as it were, in hell, or even lower than hell; they are chained there waiting for the final judgment. These particular fallen angels have lost any freedom of activity or movement. That’s about all of the specific information we can gather about these fallen angels. There is simply a great deal we don’t know. Yet, what we do know, is that angels are not immune to being judged and punished for rebellion against God. There are not any do-overs for those fallen angels. And if that’s the case, then any human who dares to defy God and rebel against Him, will also receive punishment.
Another example is found from Genesis 6, in what we know as the flood during Noah’s time. Our family had the great privilege of seeing a live production in Branson, MO, at the Sight and Sound Theater of Noah. This was an incredible production which showed the relevance of what happened during Noah’s time and the continuing war against God even today. Here in verse 5, we see God fulfilling choices on both sides. In the first part of the verse, those who rejected God and Noah’s message of repentance and turning to God, were utterly destroyed.
Yet, notice a few things. It took 120 years for this to reach its climax. Noah was not just building the ark, he was actively preaching to the ungodly world, in hopes they would turn from their wickedness and pursue God and His righteousness. Even Jesus commented in Luke 17, that life was going on just like every day up until the very day that Noah’s family entered into the ark. How sad! Talk about a minority witness! Having the very truth of God presented to them, yet those all around Noah rejected that truth, thinking that their ways were the right ways. After all, everyone else in the world felt that Noah’s family was wrong and they were right. Yet, God definitely was able to fulfill choices. Judgment and destruction came by a flood. In fact, the word for flood is where we get the word for cataclysm. Those who chose rebellion were condemned and destroyed. Those who chose to believe and obey God were saved.
Then we come to another example in verses 6-8, with Sodom and Gomorrah, and a local resident named Lot. This situation is described back in Genesis 18-19. It takes place less than 5 centuries later than the flood which wiped out civilization, except for Noah and his family. The NIV describes the lifestyle of the residents of these two cities as filthy lives of lawless men. Something we should keep in mind is that the Law of Moses had not been given yet. So what was “lawless” about their lives. Many places in the Bible, including the New Testament, in particular Romans 1:24-27, describes this as unnatural sex, sodomy, or homosexual behavior. This is condemned throughout the Bible. It is never of God, but comes from the depravity of man.
Once again, God fulfilled their evil choices by total destruction. This is where we get the word for catastrophe. It was total destruction. In fact, to my knowledge, archaeologists have not found any ruins of the cities. Interestingly, Sodom and Gomorrah are referred to at least 20 times in the Bible as a warning example. Plus, these cities are mentioned often by writers and orators in a negative sense. One of the crimes of this perverted sexuality is named after one of the cities—sodomy.
Lot was not really an example of righteous, either. He chose to stay in that area because of the supposedly fertile, rich land and opportunity. Of his four daughters, two of them had married men of that area and were left behind and were killed. Lot’s wife was killed as they fled the cities, due to her disobedience. Yet, Lot and two of his daughters were spared. Peter even alludes to the fact that Lot was righteous, in two different places. However, we recall that Lot was self-centered, was prone to drunkenness, was willing to sacrifice his two virgin daughters to the sinful actions of the community. Though we might say he was far from perfect, he evidently had pursued a relationship with God. We recognize from Peter’s description of Lot as being oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled me . . . felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds. We also are reminded that, as imperfect as Lot was, God rescued him because of his belief in God.
In these verses, we can definitely see that rebellion against God will be dealt with in condemnation. However, I believe that we can also be encouraged as Christians, that God is able to fulfill our choice of following him by providing us salvation; protection from being tainted by an evil world, and complete rescue from condemnation when we are present with Christ. We see that Noah was able to stay righteous even in the midst of an incredibly corrupt and wicked world. He didn’t isolate himself from the world. In fact, Noah was preaching to those who were rebellious against God as often as he could. In addition, Noah’s family was spared judgment by being shut into the ark and lifted above the destruction.
Peter was encouraging the believers to whom he was writing, that God was able to rescue them in the midst of their troubling situation. Whether it be from a corrupt government or from false teachers that were infiltrating their assemblies, trying to create division and confusion, God is sovereign. Everyone will reap what they have sown.

God Is Able to Finalize Consequences. - 2:9-10a

This is almost like a summary to the earlier verses. Peter further clarifies that since God was able in the past to accomplish His purposes and will, He is able to do so in Peter’s time and in our time.
2 Peter 2:9–10a NASB95
then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,
It may look like things are topsy-turvy and out of control. It may look like the wicked are prospering and those following Christ are not being protected. However, the unrighteous will be punished. Those who despise authority and choose to teach false doctrine and lifestyles will be punished. The false teachers had truly despised and rejected the lordship of Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we do not need to take any time worrying about or even considering judgment for condemnation. Jesus Christ took our condemnation upon Himself on the cross at Calvary. Just as with Noah, when judgment comes, we will have been rescued and will be kept safe.
It is also comforting to know that the first part of verse 9 states: . . . the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation . . . The idea behind the word for temptation carries with it the picture of someone luring someone into a harmful situation in which they can be destroyed. What an encouragement. Not only have we been rescued from the condemnation of hell, but we are able to be rescued from temptation. Thus, we can life victoriously in Christ today, regardless of what is going on all around us.


Words of challenge and encouragement, I want to leave with you. Let us not be separatists while on this earth, for the world needs to hear words of rescue and salvation. At the same time, let us not compromise with the world and become so much like it that our message is not taken seriously, for we won’t truly be representing Jesus Christ.
Don’t be discouraged by the state of this world. Yes, it is filled with evil. Sadly, there are many good people who are accepting of this evil, acting as if God was wrong in His Word. One day, judgment will happen. Then there will be no more opportunity to accept Christ.
I’m also greatly encouraged by these examples as a believer. Regardless of how strong or weak any of us might be as Christians, God will rescue us for He is more than able. I find it fascinating to note that judgment could not take place until the righteous had been removed and rescued. Lot and his family had to be moved out, though somewhat forcefully, before fire and brimstone judgment could happen to Sodom and Gomorrah. Noah and his family had to be closed up in the ark before the judgment of destroying the earth by water could take place.
I am also convinced by my understanding of the Bible that God will not extend His wrath during the tribulation period, until the church, those covered in Christ’s righteousness, will be raptured to be with the Lord forever.
Is God able to do all that He says He will do? Absolutely! For those who refuse to believe and who will even try to teach falsehood to God’s people, there will most definitely be divine destruction. For those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, there is and will be divine deliverance. We can be encouraged that God will do what He has promised.
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