2 Peter 2:9-11

2 Peter 2:9‑11  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Thereon the apostle goes out to show the divine government in a more general way both as to good and evil.
“[The] Lord (or, Jehovah) knoweth to deliver the godly out of trial, and to keep unjust [men] for judgment-day to be punished; and especially those that walk after flesh in lust of uncleanness, and despise lordship. Daring, self willed, they tremble not speaking railingly of dignities (or, glories), when angels, being greater in might and power, bring not against them before [the] Lord (or, Jehovah) a railing charge” (vers. 9-11).
Though it is still the evil day and the enemy is not yet hurled from his place in the heavens (Eph. 6), the eye of the Lord is not closed to the trial of the godly any more than to the ways of unrighteous men. There is a constantly active care of His own to deliver out of temptation, as He reserves unjust men for another day when judgment must requite them. But this is allotted to the Lord Jesus, whom the world despised and rejected. He it is who was determinately appointed of God Judge of living and dead. The Father judgeth none but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He the Son is therefore the test. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father that sent Him. And as it is the self-emptying and humiliation of the Son in becoming man and dying on the cross which gave occasion to unbelief and contempt, instead of love and subjection, it will be as Son of man that the Lord will judge mankind. Those who believe on the Son of God receive in Him life eternal; those who despise and disobey Him as if only man must be judged by the glorified Son of man, and His judgment on the great white throne (Rev. 20:1212And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12)) will be as everlasting as His life He gives the believer. There will be no escaping judgment for unjust men, even if a day of judgment too punish them in this life at His appearing.
The gospel has saved those who believe for heaven; but it has not purged the earth of iniquity. This will be in the age to come when the Lord reigns over all the earth. It is not what God is doing now, nor will it be till He appears in glory. The darnel was to grow with the wheat in the world of profession. His servants were too ready to uproot; but His word is, Suffer both to grow together unto the harvest or the age's completion. Then shall He send His angels; for it will be their work, not ours even then. We have to witness grace. Then a king shall reign in righteousness; and as the result of retribution executed on the wicked, not only shall the righteous nation enter in, which keeps faithfulness, but “when Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.”
But “specially those that walk after flesh in lust of uncleanness, and despise lordship” shall incur the divine indignation. To this the grace which God is now showing in the gospel will contribute, because unbelief works to indulge all the more in evil. For if favor be shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness, but trifles with sin, and hopes to walk as he likes with impunity; or as it is written in Eccl. 8:1111Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. (Ecclesiastes 8:11), “because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the children of men is full in them to do evil.” Nor is it unclean lust only that is peculiarly offensive to God, and nourished by the abused grace of the gospel, but despising lordship. For God in His providence has set up the check of magisterial authority against evil; and what undermines this more than the self will of man in these last days which pleads liberty against law to indulge in license and rebellion? It was bad in Judaism; it is worse in Christendom, as this Epistle anticipates, and the corresponding Epistle of Jude. How this defiant haughtiness abounds now! And it will increase to more ungodliness, as the end of the age approaches.
In vers. 10, 11 the wicked spirit is still more pointedly designated. “Daring, self-willed, they tremble not speaking railingly of dignities (or, glories, literally); when angels, being greater in might and power, bring not against them before [the] Lord (or, Jehovah) a railing charge.” The tongue as is shown in the Epistle of James is pre-eminently the index of the inner man's feelings, aim and character. He cannot always do what he would; but his lips express what he is in audacity and self-will. The fact that some are set in a place above others in authority is enough to rouse hatred and revolutionary desires, to lower and destroy. Men tremble not to speak railingly of dignities. A debased Christianity helps this where the truth does not reign to produce self-judgment, yet is sufficiently known to make little of man's pretensions and wordly glories. With such presumption of the baptized the apostle contrasts the humility and awe of angels, superior as they are in might and power, who have such a sense of reverence before God as to restrain their speech before Him, whatever be the evils to call out their abhorrence.