Summary: Sermon 21 in a study in 1 & 2 Peter
“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; 5 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; 6 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; 7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men 8 (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), 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.”
FALSE TEACHERS WILL BE DEALT WITH
The church of Jesus Christ in our society and in the free world in general is at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to grasping the full impact of some of the things written to early believers.
Only people under severe persecution, living daily in danger of being mistreated for their faith, could really know the feelings and the fears that go with such an insecure immediate future.
They were being persecuted by the Romans because they belonged to what the government perceived as a cult that worshiped a deity other than Caesar. And although our democratic form of government is largely patterned after examples the Romans set for us, they were not guided by any obligation toward tolerance and fair play for those they saw as opposition.
So the commanders in the field with their troops often had free reign in their treatment of the cultures they oppressed.
In addition to having to live under fear of physical torment and unjust treatment from the military, these early believers were bombarded by the coming of false teachers, primarily in the form of the Judaizers who twisted the message of the Apostles and demanded adherence to the Mosaic Law as well as belief in the Messiah.
Going by the things said in the epistles, specifically here in 2 Peter and in Jude, there were others also; even Gentiles who, insinuating themselves into the church led people astray with the same sort of lies that false prophets of the Old Testament were guilty of spreading.
They claimed to speak from God, but were not sent by God. They were sneaky, heretical, deceptive, manipulative, and greedy, and they must have been a constant vexation to believers in the infant church who were trying to stay on track, but had so many voices around them sending mixed signals.
But God is able to protect His Word and His children. He speaks through His Apostles and other leaders of the true church, as He did with Peter here, who began by assuring Christians of their secure place in Christ, and then giving them another kind of assurance; that God is in control.