“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;” (2 Peter 2:4–6, AV)
When I was in the Army Ranger School in 1973, we went to Dahlonega Georgia for mountain training. There, we learned to rappel and climb mountains. Some of the places we climbed were very steep granite outcroppings and others virtually sheer. On our first day of the training, we went up to the side of one of the cliffs and received a safety briefing. When we arrived one of the staff was climbing, by himself, on the granite. He was about eight feet up. We were watching the safety instructor when we heard a thud. The one climbing on the granite wall fell and lie one the ground in front of the entire class.
Two medics immediately ran over to him and proceeded to splint his leg and then carted him off on a stretcher. Our instructor immediately explained that is what happens when you do not follow safety procedures. Climbers were to have a safety rope and another on belay in order to break one’s fall before they hit the ground. Whether the fallen staff member was truly hurt or not, we will never know. They often staged things for us to see so we would not forget. I guess that the image of the fallen one lying on the ground was one that I did not forget. It was an example of what could happen if we did not follow the instruction given in our mountaineering training.
Peter here gave three examples of God’s judgment on the ungodly. Often today, we do not hear much about the coming judgment from Bible teachers and preachers. Once upon a time the preaching of fire and brimstone was often heard. There are some preachers who refuse to preach on God’s judgment. Yet, the Bible does not avoid such teaching.
Peter wrote about the angels who rebelled against God and were cast into hell awaiting judgment for their rebellion. He wrote about those at the time of Noah whom God destroyed with the flood because they had their hearts purposed towards evil continuously. He wrote about those in Sodom and Gomorrah who were turned to ashes with fire and brimstone due to their immorality. These were real events that stand as an example of what will come upon the ungodly.
There is a great judgment to come upon all the ungodly, the unrepentant who are driven by their own desires. The Scriptures state that only those whose names are written in the “book of life” will escape this judgment (Rev 20:15). All others will be judged according to the things written in the books of their lives (Rev 20:12-14). How does one get his or her name written in the “book of life”? It is by trusting in Jesus Christ alone, His finished work on the cross, for their salvation.
There are two possible responses to these examples. We must make our “calling and election sure” as Peter previously wrote. First, those who are unsure must commit to Jesus Christ alone for their salvation by faith. Second, those who are sure of their salvation should be burdened to serve as heralds of the gospel message. The fact that people are dying and perishing without Jesus should burden us to pray for them and preach to them about the hope that is found in Jesus Christ alone.