The Truth about Accountability

There are two major points in the second chapter of 2 Peter.

(1) There is accountability for people who rebel against God and harm humans.

(2) Persecuted and oppressed followers of Jesus can depend on his ultimate care.

Peter begins with the fact that those who rebel against God will stand in judgment before the Judge of all the earth.

Fallen Angels

Angels who refused to serve God will experience God’s judgment.

For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment (2 Peter 2.4).

The Book of Revelation pictures a time when God’s judgment over the devil and his demons will take place.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.

He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years

And threw him into the pit and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended.

After that he must be let out for a little while (Revelation 20.1-3).

No one in their right mind would want to suffer the same fate as the devil and demons.

The warning is clear. If you’re following the directions of God’s enemies, turn away from them and follow the Lord.

Ancient Examples

As we read accounts of judgment in chapter 2 let’s consider these words from Ben Witherington:

“God did not establish commandments, send prophets, and ransom humanity through the death of Jesus in order to maximize the population of hell.

“Rather his redemptive judgments are all for the purpose of redeeming the world, just as the warnings of future judgments are to help keep the faithful on the straight and narrow.”

God saved Noah and Lot, just as he saves humans who fully rely on his love and grace.

If he did not spare the ancient world, even though he saved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly;

And if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to destruction and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly;

And if he rescued Lot, a righteous man greatly distressed by the debauchery of the lawless

8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by their lawless deeds that he saw and heard),

Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial and to keep the unrighteous until the day of judgment when they will be punished –

Especially those who indulge their flesh in depraved lust and who despise authority (2 Peter 2.5-10).

The sweeping message of these verses is twofold.

(1) A study of the Bible and history reveals that God acts in judgment and redemption.

Lawless people from the days of Noah and Lot to their representatives in modern history have experienced God’s judgment.

Tyrants like Hitler have their days of success but quickly have shameful endings.

Martin Luther King was persecuted in the South during the Civil Rights era but is now frequently quoted as an authority on Christianity and non-violent protest.

(2) Noah, Lot, Hitler, and King are examples of the final judgment that everyone will experience.

They present us with striking pictures of two different ways of living.

They should inspire us to align ourselves with the kind of life that will bring blessing instead of judgment.

There appears to be little emphasis in today’s world on judgment.

Even though we often hear the word “accountability,” the idea of eternal judgment seems to be a distant issue in today’s society.

Peter would have us recognize the reality of judgment and redemption and act accordingly.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I continue a study on 2 Peter on YouTube today. It can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.

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