2Pet. 3:9- "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
This verse is used as a proof text to refute the theology that God elected a select few to be saved while condemning the rest of humanity to eternity in hell. It is just one of many examples from God’s Word revealing His will for all men and women. All throughout His Word, God beckons our rebellious race to repent and follow Him. God told Ezekiel, “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezk. 33:11) God is not referring to a group of people whose eternal destiny is already predetermined by an unchangeable decree. No! God is urging All to repent. He was urging all of Israel in Ezekiel’s time, and is urging all subsequent generations of Jews and Gentiles who hear or read this passage of scripture. Paul declared that it is God’s desire that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1Tim. 2:4).
Yet in using 2Pet. 3:9 as a proof text against an incorrect theology of election, let us not forget Peter’s message: repentance. God does desire salvation for all men and women. But salvation begins with repentance, the turning away from all deliberate acts of rebellion against God’s commands. God is indeed long suffering towards mankind, giving us time to repent. “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance” (Rom. 2:4). In the original Greek, Peter was saying that God is giving everybody enough room to repent, giving us all ample opportunity to change our thinking and our ways. While we have ample opportunity, will we fulfill God’s purpose for us through repentance? If we are already believers, will we not cast aside all that hinders our walk with God? Repentance is for believers too. And will we not meditate upon the character of God who desires salvation for all and praise Him for His longsuffering toward us?
Scripture quotations from the NKJV.