May 17, 2023
The Bible Edge
Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have the Bible Edge
II Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Upon the first, quick, reading of this verse the unconditional promise may be missed. The promise contained here is not one about not perishing, because that is conditional upon repentance. It is not even about the Lord keeping His promise, for that is a given. For if God cannot lie, as Titus 1:2 clearly proclaims, He cannot break a promise. This is more than an unconditional promise, it’s an axiom (a self-evident truth, a foundational truth based upon nothing but itself). The unconditional promise contained in today’s verse, at least to this writer, is not that the Lord is not slack. He is energy personified. After all, Jesus stated clearly that He has “all power” (Matthew 28:18). So, what is it?
What is the unconditional promise contained in II Peter 3:9? Again, to this preacher it is this: …not willing that any should perish… It is not the Lord’s will for any person to perish. For He is not willing that any should perish. He wants everybody to live forever. It is a promise that drives straight to the heart of evangelism, to that end He has a plan. The central part of that plan is the Gospel. Appropriating the Gospel is that which Jesus’ earthly life was all about. He had to be born according to Scripture, had to be perfect in all things, had to be arrested, beaten, judged, and crucified according to Scripture, and had to be buried and resurrected three days later. All this was carried out according to all Scriptural prophecies. In the Lord’s plan the Gospel must be shared with all in order for all to benefit. That is the responsibility of His people in and through His churches coupled with the ministry of the Holy Ghost. Individuals then, must receive, or accept by faith that Gospel.
This truth of His being…not willing that any should perish… is an unconditional promise that means anyone, anywhere, in any condition, with any sin, and with any intellect or means can be rescued from perishing. From the uppermost to the uttermost; from the down and out to the up and coming; from the least to the greatest; from, well, you get the picture. It is not God’s will for any to perish. It is His will that all would live with Him forever. Sadly, many will not believe the Gospel. Sadly, many that believe the Gospel will not be busy propagating the Gospel, but His promise is not based upon that which we do or do not do. It is based upon Him. It is based upon verses like John 3:16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That verse contains the same unconditional promise as II Peter 3:9 does, yet it is vague. God’s willingness to rescue anyone in the world from the penalty of sin is clear. All because He has chosen to love everyone in the world.
Today’s Bible Edge is this, that person that we may think has no chance to live forever, our Lord loves and is willing for them to never perish, whoever they may be.
William T. Howe, Ph.D.