2 Peter #7 2 Peter 2:4-9 (MSG) What You Do Matters!
2 Peter #7 2 Peter 2:4-9 (MSG) What You Do Matters
Peter has written that those who twist the truth and those that follow such teaching are headed for a bad end. He then writes about the judgments of God from the past. Remember the stakes are high. If you choose to live within the confines of Scripture, The Tradition of the Church, Reason, and Experience you guard yourself from judgment. There will be a day of accountability.
2 Corinthians 5:10 (MSG)
Sooner or later we'll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what's coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad.
Romans 14:12 (NIV)
“…each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
It takes a lot of time for the consequences of our actions to catch up with us. It seems God gives us time to recognize our errors, repent, and get back on the way of truth. There does come a time when God says “enough is enough” and tickling ear ministries come crashing down.
Peter gives us three good reasons to examine the way we are living, God is not to be trifled with when our actions lead others astray. There is also an incredible word of encouragement. Let’s dig in.
2 Peter 2:4-9 (MSG)
God didn't let the rebel angels off the hook but jailed them in hell till Judgment Day. 5 Neither did he let the ancient ungodly world off. He wiped it out with a flood, rescuing only eight people—Noah, the sole voice of righteousness, was one of them.
6 God decreed destruction for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A mound of ashes was all that was left—grim warning to anyone bent on an ungodly life. 7 But that good man Lot, driven nearly out of his mind by the sexual filth and perversity, was rescued. 8 Surrounded by moral rot day after day after day, that righteous man was in constant torment.
9 So God knows how to rescue the godly from evil trials. And he knows how to hold the feet of the wicked to the fire until Judgment Day.
Reading between the lines we can discern that Peter’s false teacher where advancing the idea that there is no divine judgment. Jesus died for the sins of everyone, nobody is perfect, God is love, therefore it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, eternal life is yours. Peter calls our attention to rebellious angels.
In both the Hebrew and Christian Bible there is not a lot of information about angels. Their story is not revealed, most likely because it bears no importance to our bending the knee to Jesus. From scripture we know that angels are spiritual beings created by God to serve (Psalm 103:20). They are described as powerful (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 2 Peter 2:11), intelligent (2 Samuel 14:20), and possessing free will (Jude 1:6). There is a hierarchy, greater and lesser angels who carry out different roles within creation. Hinted at is the possibility of having a personal guarding angel (Psalm 91:11-2, Matthew 18:10, Hebrews 1:4, Acts 12:15). We are informed of a civil war amongst the angels in which a third are cast out of heaven, and the losers are referred to as fallen angels or demons (Revelation 12:7-17). Only three angels are identified by the name Gabriel, Michael, and Lucifer. For those of you who consider the Apocrypha, those additional books of the Old Testament found in the Roman Catholic canon, as scripture you can add Raphael. Worship of angels is forbidden (Colossians 2:8, Revelations 22:9). In Jesus' parable of the sheep and the goat reads of “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41 (NIV).
Peter tells us that the angels that rebelled against the rule of God have been jailed until Judgment Day. The source material for this idea is not found in our Bible. It is found in a writing entitled 1 Enoch. 1 Enoch is likely written during what is referred to as the intertestamental period, between the time the Hebrew Bible ends and the New Testament begins. If you want to gain an understanding of the popular thoughts about angels, their history, their deeds, and their sin, during the time of Jesus, 1 Enoch has what you are looking for. “1 Enoch 10:4-6 describes angels who having sinned against God for corrupting humanity are subsequently bound with chains and cast into a place of darkness as punishment for their transgressions” (ChatGPT June 29, 2023). Peter cites this judgment to remind us that those who willfully corrupt God’s will will face unwanted consequences.
Luke 17:1-2 (NIV)
Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Peter moves on to the Noah story (Genesis 6:9-9:28).
Genesis 6:11-12 (MSG)
As far as God was concerned, the Earth had become a sewer; there was violence everywhere. God took one look and saw how bad it was, everyone corrupt and corrupting—life itself corrupt to the core.
The exact nature of this corruption is not explained. It is safe to surmise that since Noah was the only one God considered righteous that the rest are living out of sync with God’s desire for humanity. We can extract from scripture what a culture of unrighteousness involves: widespread immorality, injustice, and disregard for others. The Apostle Paul wrote of the behaviors an unrighteous life fills with:
Galatians 5:19-21 (MSG)
…repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community…
This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.
In Noah’s day, this was what life was like, people corrupting corruption was normal. God becomes so grieved, He puts an end to it all, and judgment comes in the form of the Flood. Peter cites Noah to remind us that living an immoral life, one out of sync with God, will result in death, definitely spiritual death with the possibility of physical death.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (MSG)
Unjust people who don't care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don't qualify as citizens in God's kingdom.
Peter’s third example is what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:4-11). The story portrays the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah as engaging in widespread sexual immorality, specifically homosexual behavior. The demise of Sodom and Gomorrah conveys to us the results when people engage in behaviors that are a corruption of righteousness. The result was ashes. The Scripture labels lying, stealing, cheating, adultery, sexual immorality, murder, idolatry, and any behavior that undermines the dignity of human beings, as immoral. Peter cites this story to remind us that pursuing immoral behavior results in an unwanted ending.
Revelation 22:14-15 (MSG)
"How blessed are those who wash their robes! The Tree of Life is theirs for good, and they'll walk through the gates to the City. But outside for good are the filthy curs: sorcerers, fornicators, murderers, idolaters—all who love and live lies.
Peter refutes those who teach that it doesn’t matter what you do in this life. It’s a false teaching that once you accept Jesus as your savior, you are free to live your life as you see fit. When you bent your knee to Jesus you became his slave, committed to living a devout and holy life, there is an expected way of life you are to align yourself with, straying from the path of truth has negative consequences.
There is also a word of encouragement for those who are striving to live righteously. Lot is held up as an example of God’s power to save people from the corruption of the world. Peter writes that Lot was righteous, but in the Genesis stories, Lot is anything but. “He appears simply as a man of the world (Genesis 13:10-14, 19:16) who strayed a long way from the God of his fathers. Though hospitable (Genesis 19:1), he was weak, cowardly (Genesis 19:6), and morally warped, he was ready to turn over his daughters to the crowd (Genesis 19:8),” and he overindulged in alcohol. (Genesis 19:33-35) (Powers, p 210). The words used to describe how Lot left Sodom indicate that he had to be dragged out. So how could Peter describe him as righteous?
The key to understanding why Peter calls this guy with major character flaws righteous is found in verse 8: “Surrounded by moral rot day after day after day, that righteous man was in constant torment.” The fact that Lot was greatly troubled by the way people were living in the city is a way of telling us that Lot had not rejected his faith. As poorly as he may have lived it out, Lot still believed in the God of Abraham. He had enough knowledge to know that God’s way of living was being ignored and that troubled him. The encouragement here is that while we all struggle with living out the faith, we all struggle growing deep, growing up, and growing fruit, while it is not easy being a follower of Jesus and sometimes we make a great mess of it if we keep on trying, God remains faithful to us, God is not going to abandon us. It’s all about the intent of your heart, that command and control center of your life, and God knows the heart (Romans 8:27). So even when we fail to live up to the standards the scriptures set for us, we are not disqualified. We confess our sins, we repent, and we continue to walk with Jesus, God knows how to rescue us.
Here’s what you can take away from this teaching. Behavior matters. Proof that you know God, that you are on the way of truth is seen in the way you live your life. Would Jesus give you a thumbs up?