2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)
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.

If we look at this verse outside of its context, then it may easily be used to teach either Universalism, Provisionism, or Arminianism. But, once this verse is considered in its immediate context, the meaning becomes abundantly clear without needing to go outside of the context of Peter’s epistles to this audience and pull in from other places. Avoiding eisegesis is key to understanding this and every other passage in scripture.

The context of verse 9 is seen in the entirety of Chapter 3. Let’s begin with Verse 1:

2 Peter 3:1 (KJV)
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

Peter identifies his audience as the recipients of his first letter. Who are those people?

1 Peter 1:1-2 (KJV)

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Peter is writing to believers. These are saved people who have already repented and believed the gospel. They are continuing in the faith. We see that in his mentioning of this being his second epistle and also in Peter’s referring to their “pure minds”. It is also attested by his expectation that they are aware “of the commandments of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour” (Vs 2).

In Verse three, Peter begins an “us versus them” contrast between the believers that are his audience and the scoffers. In Verse 5, we see him distinguishing between “they” who are ignorant of the word of God from the believers who are “mindful of the words” (Verse 1). He continues that same thought in verses 5-7 speaking of those are “reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (Verse 7).

The conjunction at the beginning of Verse 8 shifts the focus away from those unbelievers back to the believers that he identifies as “beloved” (Verse 8).

2 Peter 3:8 (KJV)

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Now that he has turned his attention back to those whom he identifies as “beloved” (Verse 8), he speaks of the promise of God his longsuffering towards “us” in Verse 9. This statement excludes the scoffers. It excludes the unbelievers. This statement is made to and only applies to believers.

That is further evidenced in the remaining verses of the chapter. In Verses 10-18, Peter discusses the coming judgment of the Lord and the pending judgment. Now, consider what Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:11:

2 Peter 3:11 (KJV)
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

He is still talking to “ye” or “you”. He is still talking to believers. That is further seen in the “we” in Verse 13:

2 Peter 3:13 (KJV)
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

In Verse 14, Peter once again calls them “beloved”:

2 Peter 3:14 (KJV)
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Verse 15 tells us the true scope and purpose of 2 Peter 3:9.

2 Peter 3:15 (KJV)
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

Why is God longsuffering? It is salvation to the believer (Verse 15) and Verse 16 tells us that it is the destruction of the unbeliever.

Therefore, a clear contextual reading of 2 Peter 3 teaches that God is longsuffering towards believers and not willing that any believer should perish and that His longsuffering is salvation. There is nothing in this chapter of the conversion of one of these scoffers. There is nothing in this chapter that deals with evangelizing those scoffers. This is a chapter that is not dealing directly with salvation, but rather the preservation of those who are believers and the gathering of the Elect. How can I say that this is addressing the Elect? Because that is the exact terminology of Peter to this specific audience in 1 Peter 1:2, 1 Peter 2:6, 1 Peter 5:13, and 2 Peter 1:10.

No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *