2 Peter & Jude

by Eileen Poh

Day 10

Read 2 Peter 2:4-9

My husband and I use a prayer guide that focuses on Christians who face persecution and discrimination in different parts of the world. We pray for churches that are closed down by authorities, and for pastors and believers who are harassed or arrested, often on false charges. Sometimes, when I pray for these Christians, I wonder when God will deliver them from their suffering, and what He will do to their persecutors.

God will rescue the godly from trials, and He will hold the ungodly for judgment.

2 Peter 2:4-9 assures us that God will punish those who do evil and unrighteous deeds–the false teachers who teach ″destructive heresies″ (2 Peter 2:1) and tell ″fabricated stories″ (v. 3) that lead many people astray. These teachers are the wicked, who will be ″held for judgment″ (v. 4) and will certainly face judgment in the end (v. 9).

But we must not miss out on another important truth that Peter makes here: God knows how to rescue the godly (v. 9). To make these points, Peter looks to three examples in the past when God punished the wicked but delivered the godly.

In the first, God judged the angels who sinned against Him (v. 4). Even angels cannot escape God's judgment. Here Peter may be relying on a Jewish traditional interpretation of the account in Genesis 6:1-4, which holds that the sons of God–understood to be angels–were attracted to the daughters of men and married them. For this reason, God judged them.

The second example is God's judgment on ungodly people during Noah's day (v. 5; see Genesis 6:5-8:19). He sent the flood that destroyed all but Noah, his wife, and their three sons and their wives. God rescued Noah because he was ″a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God″ (Genesis 6:9).

The third example is God's judgment on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for the wickedness of the people (2 Peter 2:6-8, see Genesis 19:1-25). Only the righteous–Lot and his family–were spared. Lot had chosen to live near Sodom after parting from his uncle, Abraham (Genesis 13:11-13). The people in Sodom sinned against God, and Lot had a difficult time living in a society where there was much depravity and wickedness. So God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but rescued Lot.

Peter uses these three examples to encourage readers distressed by the false teachers in their midst. These teachers are teaching heresies and exploiting people, and it seems like God is not doing anything about it. But Peter reassures them: God will rescue the godly from trials, and He will hold the ungodly for judgment. This judgment may not come immediately, but it will surely come one day.

Think through:

Are you facing discrimination or harassment because of your faith in Jesus Christ? How does 2 Peter 2:4-9 help you in such circumstances?

Spend some time praying for our Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering for Christ's sake in a country near you.




About Author

Eileen Poh was a lawyer for some years before doing full-time theological studies. Her doctoral thesis (at King’s College London) examines the social relationships between Christians and non-Christians in Asia Minor in the second half of the first century AD. Eileen lectures in Biblical Studies at Discipleship Training Centre, Singapore. She is married to Philip Satterthwaite.

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