Peter’s words in chapter 2 are as dark as they come in the Bible. We have examined the three illustrations in verses 4-8 maintaining the context of this letter as we looked at the illustrations.
- The fallen angels involved in the demonic plot to mix up the DNA of the human race with the fallen angelic DNA that led to the extermination of all but 8 humans.
- The second illustration of Noah which was connected with the first reference where we noted that the very waters that were the extermination of the human race were life to the inmates of the ark. The righteousness of God judges all who are not correctly related to the truth about Him, and it is faith in God’s provision of His Ark Jesus that enables us to sail upon God’s goodness.
- Peter’s 3rd illustration in verses 6-8 was of Lot. Peter’s point is not the folly of Lot that led to his decision but rather how Lot conducted himself in the wicked environment of Sodom and Gomorrah. The general observation the story centers more upon Lot whom in verse 8 we are told was (that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds). The point that the Holy Spirit is making is in verse 9 where Peter writes, “then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.” The examples of Noah and Lot is the severity of the test as seen in the extremely limited part of humanity being asked to be different when compared to the majority of the wicked.
Looking ahead in this chapter we have yet to examine the characteristics and depravity of these false teachers in verses 10-17 as well as their techniques and outcome in verses 18-22. My overall observation is that the Holy Spirit is extremely concerned with the Christian and the Church that He was responsible for guiding. Periodically the scientific and medical community comes together and warns humanity of the severity of a health risk that has the potential for humanities destruction. Of course, one problem we have is that there are so many things that we are being told that have the power to destroy humanity that we tend to be either preoccupied with that which can destroy us, or we cannot distinguish what is a real threat and what isn’t. I bring this up as there is 1 verse out of 22 in the 2nd chapter that is positive and uplifting and I’m afraid that because of all of Peter’s warnings that we will miss it. That brings us to verse 9 which will be the point of our examination this morning as it possess the greatest of encouragements for the follower of Jesus!
Vs. 9 The sovereignty of God
Vs. 9 These words form the conclusion of what Peter was prompted to write in the 4th verse where he wrote, “For God did not spare the angels’ who sinned but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.” The illustrations went on to include Noah and Lot, the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The context of this passage brings up two general observations:
- Grammatically in the Greek the reference is to both Noah and Lot who were in the extreme minority as the lone righteous among the wicked. They dwelt not only in continual wickedness and immorality but were the object of mockers and persecutors of their faith in Gid’s Word. Such testing was allowed by God as was Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness and in the case of Noah and Lot brought about the revelation of their own progress in what they said they believed and what they truly did. The believer’s failure with temptation, when it gives birth to sin, happens when the temptation ceases to be in opposition to God’s truth in our hearts! This can happen when we supplant God’s truth with false teaching.
- That leads to the second observation: The object of these illustrations was to encourage the believers to stay and remain in the word of God and not to follow after the world which was being taught by false teachers who were saying that “new experiences” were better than “new encounters with the Lord” and “new information” made “old truth” obsolete. These dear saints were experiencing sever trials standing apart from the world system that was being made worse by those false teachers that wanted them to lessen their persecution by following the apostasy that called them to be more like the world and less like Jesus. With the twin dangers after reading what Peter had to say of: “So many things that we are being told that have the power to destroy us that we tend to be either preoccupied with that which can destroy us, and the lack of ability to distinguish what is a real threat and what isn’t”; Peter gives the reader reasons to have hope and be encouraged. YES, evil is everywhere, and we are small in number facing a “Well-organized demonic realm that is entrenched, experienced and has the majority of the world all aiming at getting us to move away from the truth that is in God’s word!” These are the facts: The world and its system empowered by satan that are against us but let us not ever forget that it isn’t about “who is against us” it is about “Who is for us”! Those against us are because of Who we follow and being against us makes them against God who is for those who follow only after HIM! Our sole direction in life is not to seek to survive this world but to make certain that by the Holy Spirit that we seek only to follow after our Lord!
Having already spent 8 verses looking at the “destructive ways” that will cause “many” to follow after false teaching (verse 2) and still facing 13 more verses looking at the doom and depravity of false teachers it is easy to see how reading this may cause the believer to fall into despair as all the focus is on the opposition! What has the believer been given to do battle against the forces of evil? What can cause the believer to head the words of Paul in Eph 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having dome all, to stand.” I think this verse gives us four points that encourage us to “stand”!
- First of all, we need to look at this encouragement in light of what isn’t said! Peter by the Holy Spirit DOESN’T say that in this world generally or in their present situation or circumstance everything is going to work out according to their expectations. Neither does he tell them to hang in there a little longer because their situations are about to change, and they will no longer have any problems. Hey listen up….! God’s Word doesn’t promise us in this world a wonderful carefree, life and if you haven’t experienced one yet you either lack the faith or it’s just around the corner! The bible knows nothing of this lie of false optimism as God’s TRUTH knows that hope will never last that is based upon our troubles being only temporary. Those false teachers who teach such lies are not teaching God’s Word they are teach satan’s lies of “idealism” “false optimism” and “humanism”! In this world, God is not going to change the believer’s situation and circumstances instead He is going to change us through adverse situations and circumstances! The gospel is not any fatalistic teaching that say’s that our joy is conditional upon the response of the world to truth a “rebellion or revelation”. Instead, the message of hope to the church doesn’t hinge upon what the world does or doesn’t do with the gospel our joy doesn’t hang up others response to truth, it hinges upon ours! Instead, Peter introduces the reader to true hope and joy that can never be dislodged…. “The sovereignty of God” and it is delivered to his readers in three points.
- “The Lord Knows how”: Thee points must be made as it relates to the “sovereignty of God”. The first has to do with ability and Peter informs his readers that he is speaking of the “LORD” God lacks nothing in ability to perform what He has promised. The LORD is all powerful, He lacks nothing to be able to do that which He wishes to do. So often we place God in the box of our expectations of when and how, but He is not bound to our expectations as His ways are far above ours. God cannot be defeated and satan’s greatest plan and victory killed Jesus which led to God’s greatest victory! No matter what the situation and circumstance we face we much start with the truth that God will win!!! There is nothing that evil can do and even our death will usher in our permanent victory! This verse doesn’t say “WE know how” it says, “the LORD knows how”! Well beyond my pay grade is the truth that God permits evil it’s a mystery other than that such evil often shapes the sinner! We also realize that though evil is present its power is limited as we can see in Job. Evil comes upon humanity, but it doesn’t have free range to roam, God remains in control and limits it aim, and duration! And there are times like the flood where evil is bound and delivered to God’s judgment. The disciples marvel at the elements of nature were subject to Jesus but so to was, the supernatural real of the unseen world!
- “How to deliver”: Nothing is more certain in the sovereignty of God then His power not only to ability to perform but also in His all-knowing ability to discern who shall be delivered and who shall be reserved for punishment on the day of judgment. We can mistakenly believe that God lacks discernment because of His patience at desiring that all should know His love, but He knows and is not slack concerning judgment. Just as our deliverance will come at the perfect time so will God’s judgment. The “LORD knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.”
- “The godly”: The last aspect that about the “sovereignty of God” is His love for His children. God’s love works in conjunction with His power and knowledge as we know that such adversity that may come upon us will never lack His power and knowledge, but neither will it be void of His love for us. Though we will go through adversity we must not allow false teaching to choke out the truth that our God LOVES us so much that He sent His Only Son on our behalf. All our adversity will pass but His love shall be the path where we realize that nothing shall ever be able to separate us from His love. Because of this we all ought to remember Jesus’ words in Matt 10:28 when it comes to difficulties “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”