By Ranson Maggard In II Pet. 3.9 Peter is dealing with the assurety of Christâ€™s return. Some, (scoffers, walking after their own lusts), had come in saying that Christ wasnt coming back. Peter in answer to this says in verse nine â€œThe Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.â€ I believe that Peter was giving a reason here in this verse as to the seeming â€œdelayâ€ of Christâ€™s return to gather the church on into glory. It was to give us time to spread the Gospel and give those whoâ€™d never heard the opportunity to repent. The question from this that Iâ€™d like to pose is this: The Lord is not willing (that any should perish) are we? Peter gives this reason for Christâ€™s return being so long in coming and says â€œHey God doesnt want anyone to perish! He, as Ezekiel 33.11 says has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.â€ God doesnt get some sick pleasure out of punishing the wicked or those who have done wrong. Instead He tries to give them every opportunity possible for them to come to repentance. Once at a Bible Study with some teenagers in my youth group several years back I needed one of the teens to â€be Godâ€ for an illustration. Right of the bat, this teenager looked at me and looked at the other young man in the illustration and said â€œzapâ€. I asked him what he was doing and he said â€œIâ€™m killing him. Iâ€™m God I get to do that.â€. Thankfully the God of the Bible isnt anything like that. He doesnt arbitrarily look at someone and say â€œzapâ€ and poof their smoke goes up like the smoke of a furnace. Instead, as II Peter 3.9 says, He is long suffering to us-ward. This is demonstrated over and over again in the Bible, such as with Abraham in Genesis 18.13-32 when Abraham intercedes on the part of the Sodomites, and the Gomoreans, or with the children of Israel again and again throughout the Old Testament when they would sin against God, He would give them chance after chance. In the New Testament He gives the task to the disciples to take His message of redemption and forgiveness to everyone. Yesterday I was at a Father-Son fellowship with Broadway Baptist Church and as I sat with one of the older men he told the story of a battle in the Civil War. He talked about how this was supposed to be a suprise assualt from the Confederate Army on a Union fort. However instead of it being a complete suprise, initiated by a artillery barrage, one of the soldiers fired a warning shot before the cannonade. This was, the man explained, a matter of honor. They wanted to give them a fair chance. God doesnt have to give us a fair chance. God wont have an attack of conscience if He didnt warn us of our impending doom. Yet again and again we have warnings. Even for those who have never had the Gospel the Lord gives us Creation bearing witness of Himself, and our conscience, with the law of God written on our hearts. Why? Because while God cant abide with sin, He cant overlook it, and by His just nature He must punish it, as the our Advocate He also provides a way of escape, and not only does He provide it, He is It! What is left to us? Just to tell. Just to boldly share what someone has already shared with us. In probably one of the most beautiful passages of Scripture and one of the greatest speaking to our responsibility to as Christians to share the Gospel: â€œBut God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.â€ Eph. 2.4-7 So thats where God stands. He is long suffering to us-ward. But what about us? This is where it comes back to the question-The Lord is not willing, but are we? God has already showed that He takes no delight in the death of the wicked. He doesnt want lost people to remain lost, otherwise He would not have commissioned His church to â€œGo into all the world and preach the Gospelâ€. He would not have provided atonement to all men for all eternity. Instead He gave us all grace that we may be saved that we may have access to the Father, that we might be nigh unto God, and walk in good works. He gave us all of this not so that we could have it for ourselves and just for our own welfare, but He gave it for a purpose. He gave it so that we could give it out. Looking at all the provisions that God has made so that no one would have to die and go to Hell, why would we not make all the provisions to see to the same? Why would we not devote our efforts to making sure that the lost have every opportunity to be saved? There is no viable answer and when we stand before our Holy God there will be no worthy excuse. We will stand before the God of Heaven in all His majesty and splendour who gave His own Son to ensure a way of escape, and we will have to answer for our own disobedience and inaction. The Lord is not willing, are we?
Check out the depth of thought and love for God expressed by a young man not even 20 in physical years but much more mature in spiritual years. God bless you Ransom. Keep up the good work. I am grateful to God for you and proud of how He is using you.