2 Peter 2:4-10
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness…
I. HIS GRACE — a just man.
1. What this justice is.
(1) Legal righteousness is of three sorts —
(a) Perfect, which consists in an absolute completion of the law: this is lost beyond all recovery.
(b) Civil, which consists in an outward deportment conformable to the law (Matthew 5:20).
(c) Internal, when a man by repentance, and by endeavour after repentance, inwardly serves God. This may justify our faith; it cannot justify us.
(2) Evangelical righteousness is that which is revealed in the gospel; and should never have been revealed if that of the law could have saved us.
2. Thus is a man just before God, but Lot was also just before men; and there is a visible justice, as well as the invisible.
(1) There is a righteousness of preparation, which is a resolution of heart to be righteous (Psalm 119:106). Though he do sometimes admit sin, he doth never intend sin.
(2) There is a righteousness of separation, because it is seen to decline the places of temptation (1 John 5:18).
(3) There is a righteousness of reparation which consists in the reforming of errors and conforming of manners, salving past defects by a bettered life, and is indeed the righteousness of repentance. Righteous, not because there is no sin committed, but because there is no sin that is not repented.
(4) There is a righteousness of comparison; so was Lot just comparatively among the Sodomites.
(5) There is an operative righteousness. The best traveller may stumble in his journey, yet have his eye observant and his foot constant on his way.
(a) If we will be delivered, let us be just.
(b) Never did man serve God for nothing; if Lot be just, he shall now find the benefit of it.
(c) The Lord first makes us just and then saves us.
II. His PLACE, which was sinful. But why would Lot stay in such a wicked city? Not as a neighbour affected with their customs, but as a physician to cure their diseases. But he that looked for a paradise found a hell, and the cup of his prosperity was spiced with the bitter fruits of a cursed society. What doth Lot in Sodom — a saint among sinners? Fishes may be fresh in salt waters; live in the sea and not partake the brinish quality. It is not so with man; rather some evil for neighbourhood's sake. Can a man be clean among lepers? Sooner are the good corrupted by the bad than the bad are bettered by the good.
III. His CASE. "Vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked."
1. The matter of his vexing was their sin; the evil of the place came from the persons, who were fully, filthily, palpably wicked.
(1) The impudence. It was manifest wickedness; their faces did not blush at it (Isaiah 3:9).
(2) The continuance. As their sins were extant, so constant; their ways were always grievous (Psalm 10:5). It is not so much sin, as the trade of sin, that is damnable.
(3) The uncleanness. Their sin was not only palpable and durable, but detestable. They were exposed to turpitude, their bodies prostituted to fleshly pollutions.
2. "Vexed." This was no ordinary disturbance, nor common displeasure; but oppressed, excruciated, tormented; his senses, his very soul, exceedingly afflicted. He was not an idle looker-on, as if he minded not what they did; nor in a timorous observation of the proverb, "Of little meddling comes great rest"; but knowing it to be the cause of God, his heart was perplexed about it. He was not vexed with them, but with their deeds; we are to hate none for their creation, but perverting the end of their creation. "Vexed." That which is here passive is in the next verse active: he "vexed his righteous soul." Who bade him stay there to be vexed? He vexed himself when he might have quitted himself. Yet because he was vexed he is delivered. Because he avoided their sins he escaped their judgments. And surely they were both miraculous; for his declining their sins was no less a wonder than his deliverance from their flames. As the latter was God's gracious prevention, so the former was His prevenient grace.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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;