2 Peter 2:9
The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished:
No human government is perfect. The knowledge of earthly rulers is limited, and they are utterly incapable of discriminating among individual cases; and it often happens that they have not the power to do all that is desirable and expedient. In contradistinction from the necessary imperfections of human governments is the perfect adaptation and sufficiency of that which is Divine. "The Lord knoweth" how to rule and to judge, for his wisdom and his equity are alike faultless; and his power is as irresistible as his knowledge is all-embracing.
I. THE DISTINCTION IN HUMAN CHARACTER DRAWN BY THE LORD AND JUDGE OF MANKIND. Men discriminate often upon unsound principles, always with insufficient data. They are guided very much in their estimate of their fellow-men by such considerations as social position and social acceptableness. They cannot take into their deliberation the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hence the inadequacy of all human attempts to create a moral distinction among men. Now, according to St. Peter, our Divine Ruler distinguishes men into
(1) the godly, or those animated by true piety, by a reverence for God's Law, and a responsive appreciation of God's love; and
(2) the unjust, or those who have no respect for the law of rectitude, human or Divine.
II. THE CORRESPONDING DISTINCTION OF TREATMENT ON THE PART OF THE LORD AND JUDGE OF MANKIND.
1. The godly are not exempted from temptation, but are delivered out of it. In illustration of this principle of the Divine government St. Peter refers to Noah, whose lot was cast in a generation of sinners and scoffers, but who was preserved from yielding to the evil solicitations to which he was exposed; and to Lot, who, though vexed with the lascivious life and lawless deeds of his wicked neighbours, was yet delivered from participation in their guilt and their doom. Certain it is that Divine providence allows the purest and the best to come into constant contact with the bond - slaves of sin, doubtless in order that their virtue may be tested and their character strengthened. But never does God abandon those who confide in his care, and who comply with his conditions of safety. The means by which he protects and delivers his own are known to himself, and he makes use of them in his own time. Thus, however formidable may be the temptations to which the godly are exposed, a way of escape is made for them, and they are delivered from the hand of the enemy.
2. The unrighteous cannot escape just retribution. It does not matter how high is their station, in what esteem they are held by their fellow-creatures, what is their power and their skill. All who defy and all who forget God must surely learn that they are subject to the control of infinite justice, administered by omnipotence. The apostle, in the context, adduces illustrations of retributive righteousness, and reminds his readers that the rebel angels were cast into Tartarus, that a flood was brought upon the ancient world of the ungodly, and that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were turned into ashes. For all impenitent sinners there is punishment, even here and now; and the Scriptures reveal the approach of a day of judgment in which God shall render to every man according to his works, and in which those who have exalted themselves against the holy Supreme shall awake to "shame and everlasting contempt." - J.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: