2 Peter 2:6-8

2 Peter 2:6‑8  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 12
The apostle addresses another divine judgment, not so vast as the deluge, but even more solemnly significant, though on a small scale.
“And reducing to ashes [the] cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he condemned [them] with overthrow, having set an example to those that should live ungodlily, and rescued righteous Lot, distressed by the behavior of those abandoned in licentiousness; for the righteous [man] dwelling among them, in seeing and bearing was tormenting a righteous soul day after day with lawless works” (vers. 6-8).
The awful story is told with holy plainness of speech in Gen. 19. The sinning and doom of angels consigned to the deepest pit of gloom in chains of darkness for a judgment still more terrible; and the ensuing and unsparing destruction of an old world except Noah and his family, are followed by a catastrophe of fire and brimstone on the cities of the plain. There the bold monstrous depravity of mankind sunk to its lowest depths and cried aloud for heaven's open and indignant vengeance. These were early days comparatively speaking. The boasted civilization of man had borne much fruit to glory in, not only on the banks of the Euphrates and the Tigris, but on the Nile. And here on the borders of Canaan, destined for the seed of Abraham, and round the sea into which debouched the waters of the Jordan were men sunk into unblushing vileness not to be named, save in the days long after by the classic authors of Greece and Rome, who liked moral filth without shame. Most righteously did Jehovah execute His judgment on these cities, setting an example to those that should live an ungodly life, not providentially through the hand of man, but Himself raining upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire out of heaven.
Do any now bearing the name of Christians question this dealing of Jehovah? They may plead the unbelief of an erratic speculator like Origen to excuse their own skepticism, to which, as they allow, the free thinking of Hobbes and Spinoza and the like gave a great impulse; and they are not afraid to cheer one another with the godless cry that they are the winning side. But how will it be when, in the approaching consummation of the age, the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with angels of His power in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and those that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? Will it be any consolation to the teachers of those responsible to preach the truth that they were successful in undermining God's authority in His word under color of historical investigation which has no real facts but fancy, and of criticism which is not to get rid of human error but to enthrone it and to dissolve, in will at least, all that is divine? Will they encourage one another in their work of mischief when such impious infidelity pays the penalty of everlasting destruction from the Lord's presence and from the glory of His might? O that where conscience is seared by the power of evil, there might be an ear to hear, and repentance be given to the acknowledgment of the truth, so that out of the snare of the devil, taken as they were by him, they might wake up for God's will! They may flatter themselves that they are as moral as the old cities were corrupt. But after all to reject God's word, and claim title to sit in judgment on it, is to have a character of pride and malignity more destructive than the abominable and unnatural debasement of Sodom. If God, not man, is the measure of sin, they who are caught red-handed in their war against His inspiration will learn then, if they mock now, what it is to have helped on the apostasy and the man of sin.
But the apostle here as before attests divine mercy as well as judgment. For as before He preserved Noah preacher of righteousness with seven others who shared the ark with him, so now “He saved righteous Lot, distressed by the behavior of those abandoned in licentiousness.” Peter's appointed view is righteousness and unrighteousness; as Jude's was apostasy from a place given by divine will. Both were true of old, and shall be true again in those who hate and deny prophecy, yet will prove its truth in the ruin of those they mislead. And shall they escape, who served Satan's aim and despised God's word, because they die before that day to which all the prophets point, though they had “settled” it to have been a mistake? Lot was not like Abraham in the secret of the Lord apart from the scene. But he was no scoffer, any more than a skeptic; “for the righteous man, dwelling among them in seeing and hearing was tormenting a righteous soul day after day with lawless works.” Whoever heard of such seriousness in a dilettante higher critic? Lot's was not the more blessed part of Abraham, yet was he truly grieved for the Lord's sake. And so it will be with a righteous remnant, when the Jews are in their last trial and the mass accept idols once more, and the antichrist too, as the Psalms and the Prophets amply prove.