then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,2 Peter 2:9(NASB)
Christians are engaged in the battle of all battles - a spiritual war between good and evil, between the Lord God Almighty and His wicked adversary, that old serpent who is called the devil and Satan. The devil has been engaged in confrontation with humanity from the moment God breathed life into man and Adam became a living being... made in the image and likeness of God.
This enemy of our soul targeted many Old and New Testament saints in different ways, but in his second epistle, Peter is identifying twisted teachers and their false doctrines as one of the main challenges Christians will encounter during the Church dispensation. Satan has many ways he seeks to shipwreck the faith of God's people, and the sowing of lies and deceit is one of the destructive weapons about which Peter is warning us.
After having reminded us of God's divine nature, His supernatural power, His enduring promises to His people, and the incredible resource we have in His written Word, the aging apostle gives a comprehensive outline of the rebellious nature of these false teachers and their animalistic, deceitful, mercenary, and sinful ways - even denying the Lord Who bought them with His own precious blood.
As a warning to the wicked and an encouragement to his readers, Peter reminds us that God is faithful to fulfil His plans and purposes and that we will not be overcome by evil. He cites a number of instances which demonstrate both i) the Lord's judgement of the wicked and ii) the Lord's deliverance of His people. He shows in his illustrations that all things work together for the eternal good of those that love the Lord and are fitting into His plan - even when we fail or are going through difficult times.
His first illustration of judgement is of the angelic rebellion and the punishment that awaits them on judgement day. The Great White Judgement Seat and the terrible Lake of Fire awaits them... and all that deny His holy name. But he also reminds us of Noah who found grace in the eyes of the Lord and the blessings that Job, who was righteous in all his ways, finally received.
He used the historic examples of the evil antediluvian civilization and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as classic demonstrations that the wicked will be both judged and punished. But he also referenced Lot who believed God's Word and yet failed to live the godly life that honours the Lord... and results in many spiritual blessings.
Peter points out that IF the Lord, "rescued righteous Lot, whose spirit was distressed by the unrestrained behaviour of the immoral people of Sodom," does this not show that God KNOWS who are His. He knows our heart and is able and willing to rescue ALL His people from destruction - even when we fail Him. Indeed, Paul reminds us that when we are faithless, HE remains faithful to His blood-bought children.
No matter how terrible things become, we have an assurance that God's judgement of evil and His punishment of the wicked will surely happen. We also have confidence that false teachers, who lead God's people astray, will be punished for their rebellious, animalistic, deceitful, mercenary, and sinful ways.
May we never be tempted to lose heart in life's difficult circumstances, nor despair when we see the wicked flourish. May we maintain our trust in the Lord despite the deteriorating world situation we witness and false teachers that are flooding our places of worship. God is not mocked, and judgement and punishment will be meted out to the wicked in His time and in His way, and deliverance is assured to those that are His - for ALL His ways are perfect and His judgement are altogether righteous.
Heavenly Father, how I bless and thank You for Your precious Word. Thank You for the many truths I learn from its pages and the reassurances I receive that both the righteous judgement of the wicked and gracious deliverance of the righteous is the outcome. Thank You that You know how to rescue Your people from both the temptations of the evil one and the inevitable trials that stalk the pathway of every man and woman. Give me discernment, I pray, to identify false teachers and their twisted doctrines and to stand fast on the Word of truth, for Your name's sake. Thank You that even in those times when I fail, through fear or lack of faith - that YOU remain faithful to the promises made to those who have trusted in Christ for the remission of sins and life everlasting. Help me to live and work, day by day, for Your praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.