The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. — 2 Peter 2:9
Recently I was at my friend’s house for lunch. While she was preparing some soup, she put her toddler in a highchair and placed some bread in front of him. However, her son was far more interested in the sharp knife that she had used to cut the loaf than he was in the bread. She thought she had placed the knife beyond his reach, but he saw the light reflect off the blade and was intrigued by it. By stretching as far as possible, he was almost able to grab it. Thankfully, my friend saw him just in time and was able to move the knife. The little guy was not happy about that, and he let her know of his dissatisfaction by starting to cry. She had pulled the tantalizing object away for his own safety, but of course her son was too young to understand why he was being denied the object he desired.
My friend “delivered” her son from danger by removing the object. Today’s text indicates that God also delivers His children, but those who are ungodly will be punished. The focus verse, along with verses 7-8, is based on the account of Lot, whom the Lord delivered from the evil of Sodom. In Lot’s case, God delivered him by removing him before the city was destroyed as punishment for the sinfulness of its inhabitants.
God’s deliverance for trials and temptations comes in different forms. Sometimes God removes His children (as in the case of Lot). Sometimes He gives grace to endure hardship (as Peter experienced when he was martyred). At other times, He may remove the source of potential harm (as my friend did for her son), though we might not see the danger in the items God removes. Like my friend’s son, we may reach for them, and even have them almost in our grasp, when God comes and moves them away. We may not understand why, but God is concerned about our spiritual safety and He wants to deliver us. At times, what He chooses for us is not what we would have chosen for ourselves; it might not make any sense to us at all. However, if we trust God, He will safely lead us in paths of righteousness.
God knows what He is doing. If you are in a situation where God has removed something you wanted, or has seemingly “relocated” you, consider today’s verse. As we yield to God’s choices for each aspect of life, trusting Him to guide and direct our steps, we can be confident that His ways are best. He knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and He wants to be glorified through our lives. We can trust Him fully.
In contrast to the first chapter of 2 Peter, which reminds readers to add to their faith in order to grow spiritually, chapter 2 addresses avoiding false teachers, who will bring destruction and punishment if followed. This chapter warns against them, exposes their motives and characteristics, and describes their destruction. Peter said that just as there had been false prophets in Israel throughout that nation’s history, there would also be false teachers among Christians, whose teachings would be contrary to the Word of God. These “damnable heresies,” or false doctrines, would destroy the faith of any who believed them.
Peter stated that these false teachers would reside among the people and claim to be true followers of Christ, but they would secretly bring in teachings that would be against God’s Word. They would lead many astray with their reprehensible ways, and the path of truth would be disregarded. These teachers would use “feigned” or artificial words to gain wealth or high positions for themselves.
Even though judgment of false teachers may be long in coming, they will be punished in God’s time. Peter gave some specific examples of God’s previous judgments for wrongdoing and rebellion. God punished the angels who sinned and consigned them to Hell to be reserved for future judgment. The Greek word translated hell is Tartarus, which refers to the deepest abyss of Hades. The knowledge that these angels are chained in torment until their final judgment illustrates that rebellion will be judged by God. The Lord also sent the Flood to destroy mankind for its wickedness, and He burned Sodom and Gomorrah, making them an example of what happens to those who rebel against God. While God destroyed the wicked, He spared and delivered those who put their trust in Him, as exemplified by Noah and Lot. God deals justly with each person according to what He observes in the heart.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. Call to awareness of error
A. The fact and methodology of false teachers (2:1-3)
1. Their deception (2:1)
2. Their success (2:2)
3. Their exploitation (2:3)
B. The destruction of false teachers (2:4-9)
1. The illustration (2:4-8)
a. Angels (2:4)
b. Ancient world (2:5)
c. Sodom and Gomorrah (2:6-8)
2. The summary (2:9)
If we are faithful in our study of the Bible and sincerely seek for God’s truth and will in our lives, He has promised to deliver us from temptation and lead us in the way of righteousness.