“…then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment….”
Now we come to the point of Peter’s thesis. God has the know-how; He knows how to deliver Christians out of temptations and trials. This is his punch line. Verse 9 draws the inference or “then” (apodosis) of the “if” clause (protasis) beginning in verse 4. Having given three illustrations of God’s judgment and two of His preservation of believers (Lot and Noah), Peter now draws a conclusion from those examples.
then the Lord knows how
Peter formulates a conclusion drawn from the earlier illustrations. God sovereignly delivers the godly from life’s reversals and vulnerabilities, for He is never at a loss to deliver His people. The Lord knows how to do two things:
—deliver the godly out of their trials.
—preserve those without God for judgment.
to deliver the godly out of temptations
The term “godly” means a person with awe for God. He holds reverence for God (Ac 10:2,7; Ti 2:2,12; Jas 1:26). This is more than a godly belief but a belief that lives out what one believes due to their reverence for God.
“Temptations” in our verse carries the ideas of tests or trials. God knows how to deliver people who reverence Him out of trouble. He keeps genuine believers from committing apostasy due to suffering.
and to reserve the unjust under punishment
God keeps the wicked under guard, waiting for punishment. He is the reason for preserving the “unjust,” or unbeliever, for the ultimate day of retribution. God holds the ungodly in a holding hell. He also has the “know-how” to “reserve” the unjust for their future punishment. There is a “payday someday,” as Vance Havner used to say (Ro 6:23).
for the day of judgment
One day those without Christ must face the Great White Throne Judgment, a punishment designed solely for those without Christ.
Re 20:11-15, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
God has the “know-how” to deliver us from trials or temptations.
There is no doubt that the temptations teens face today are more insidious than years ago. Sin is much more available. Social media devices have made that possible. Today’s youth do not have what it takes to say “No” to temptation. They move with the herd and run with the crowd. Thank God some have the spiritual stuff to say “No” to temptation. These a young people who know how to depend on God in the face of trial:
Ps 50:15, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”
1 Co 10:12-13, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”