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Last week we learned that false teachers and false prophets were already among us and that they would lead many Christians astray. They do it by teaching things that are not true and too many Christians don’t realize it because as a whole, the church doesn’t study the Bible. The best way to combat false teaching is to be a student of God’s Word and learn its truths. This morning Peter enters what if land through a series of rhetorical questions.
2 Pet. 2:4-6 tells us, “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 unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in 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 example unto those that after should live ungodly.”
There is a natural progression of events in the world. Do you ever wonder if God is paying attention? How long will the wicked people of the world keep going? That’s a reasonable question in light of the wickedness of the world. Sometimes though, we may have the wrong attitude. Sometimes we’re looking for revenge and not justice. In the grand scheme of things, time is not our friend. We want to see things right in front of our eyes. We want our prayers answered immediately. When we call on God, we want an immediate response. Isn’t that ironic? God often calls and calls to us, but we’ll get back to Him on our time table; we need to think about it, pray about it, or seek council from our friends. We’re like little children demanding action. Quit wondering – judgment is coming, but it’s on God’s schedule.
Throughout history, God has consistently judged the wicked. Now Peter goes on to provide examples of God’s judgment. There are three examples of judgment and two examples of preservation that we’ll look at next week. In his first example in v. 4, Peter mentions angels. When you think of angels, you may think white robes, halos, wings, playing the harp. You might think guardian angels. The reality is there are bad angels – demons. What makes them bad? They sinned. Sin has always been judged and it will always be judged. The specific sin of the angels is not mentioned here so we have to go back to Genesis to find out. Take a look at Gen. 6:1-4. I’m not going to pretend this isn’t a difficult passage. In a nutshell, here’s what happened. Sons of God refer to angels and daughters of men refer to women. These angels looked at the daughters of men and saw that they were beautiful. Beautiful literally means good. Sound familiar? It’s the same word used to describe how Eve felt about the fruit of the tree that led her to take it. So these angelic beings took humans as their wives and engaged in activity reserved for husband and wife. They crossed over the boundaries established by God. Because this happened God, “Cast them into hell and committed them to the pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.” The word translated hell here is not the normal word gehenna used elsewhere in Scripture. It is the Greek word tartaroo meaning underworld or gloomy dungeons. We don’t know for certain exactly what that means since Scripture speaks of the influence and presence of demons today. We do know that there is a final judgment awaiting them.
The second example may be more familiar to you. Peter talks about Noah and the seven others. We need to go back to Genesis once again and see what was happening. Gen. 6:5 says, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” 6:11 goes on to say that the earth was corrupt and filled with violence. Peter repeats the phrase, “Did not spare,” from v. 4 referring to the wickedness and corruption and violence. As a result, God brought, “A flood upon the world of the ungodly.” Notice the universal judgment.
Peter’s final example is that of Sodom and Gomorrah. I hope you’re following along. So take a look at v. 6. Genesis 19 tells the story and we know from post biblical writings that these two cities were reduced to ashes from the fire and brimstone God sent. The word destruction comes from the Greek word katastrophe. Peter did not mention what their sin was, but it was enough for God to bring destruction because of His condemnation over their sin. The point Peter is making is that God’s judgment is coming. The rest of v. 6 says, “having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter.” It is certain. It is just. It applies to those that live their lives in contradiction to what the Scriptures expect of us. Peter’s assumption is that if you profess a love for Jesus, your life would reflect that. The qualities of 2 Pet. 1:5-7 are present and growing in your life. You’re becoming more and more Christ like. Your love is unconditional. Your desires are to fulfill the will of God. You don’t act on your feelings and emotions. You stand unwaveringly on the Word of God. God’s judgment serves as an example to the ungodly and to those that profess His name.
When you are engaged in an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ, you have nothing to fear. God’s wrath and God’s love cannot be separated. There are consequences for sin, that’s part of God’s character. We must remember the examples provided, not to cause fear, but to know the promises of God are real and true whether we can see them or not.