The Lord Wants ALL to Repent!

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.”

Lord:

from BlueLetterBible.com:
  1. He to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord
    1. the possessor and disposer of a thing
      1. the owner; one who has control of the person, the master
      2. in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor
    2. is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master
    3. this title is given to God, the Messiah

God is sovereign. The word Lord is from the Greek kuros, which is the root of kyrios; it means He Who is sovereign.

His promise: This word comes from epangelía, an announcement of a divine good or blessing.

It is all too easy for us to forget this underlying principle of exactly Who God is. Things seem to be going so badly in almost every area these days: Politically, morally, spiritually, there is a trend away from God, away from His supreme authority over everything. I suspect that even believers are guilty of thinking that God is surely taking His sweet time to put things right!

If we would focus more on the right of ownership that He has over everything, perhaps we could be more patient in waiting for Him to show Himself as the immortal, invisible, God only wise. We could be less impatient and worried about the future if we would accept that He is not bound by our schedules!

The truth is that He is not slow. It is WE who are slow in understanding that He waits patiently for ALL to come to repentance. His desire is that no one should perish for eternity in hell, but that all should turn to Him in repentance and humility to seek His forgiveness of our sinful nature.

He is Timeless

II Peter 3:8. “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.”

God is not limited by time. He does not live by clocks and calendars.

The concept of time is so ingrained in us that it is impossible to imagine existence without the boundaries of time. Our lives are recorded in time from the moment we are born until we die. We live by the clock, by schedules and plans. There’s nothing wrong with that, and a lot right with it! Imagine, wives and moms, if you prepared meals only when you felt hungry. Your poor family would never know when they could expect to eat. Imagine having no time by which you need to be at work, or going to a medical appointment with no specific time that is scheduled for you. Let your imaginations run wild, thinking about a world in which time does not exist. For us, here on earth, it would be utter chaos! No schedules for flights, or trains, or anything!

God is not bound by time, but He established order when He created the world. There are seasons; there is light and dark, day and night, weeks and months and years. He knew we would need order and organization, and He supplied that for us.

He is the timeless One. He has never not existed–another concept that goes beyond our understanding.

Some would point to today’s verse as proof that Creation did not necessarily happen in six specific days–it could have been at least 6,000 years or more. That makes no sense when compared to Genesis 1:5, which clearly states that the evening and the morning were the first day. The truth is that God didn’t need thousands of years to complete His creation. He could have done it all in a fraction of a second, but part of His plan was to create order for us, a time to work, to eat, to sleep, and to fellowship with Him.

I Corinthians 14:40 tells us to do all things decently and in order. This was spoken by Paul to the church, but application can be made to each of us in our personal routines and practices.

Part of maturity is learning to honor commitments that are made for a specific time and place. If we don’t learn this, and we are always late or absent, we are inconveniencing others as well as ourselves. God is not a God of chaos, but of order.

Willingly Ignorant

II Peter 3:5-7.

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same Word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

They in v. 5 refers to the false teachers in the previous passage. They are “willingly ignorant” concerning creation itself. Peter wastes no time defending the biblical account of creation, knowing that those who are willingly ignorant won’t be persuaded. If they were to acknowledge God’s supremacy, doing so would interfere with their purpose and destroy their income flow.

What Peter does make clear is that God destroyed that earth and all its people because of their insolence and complete rejection of Him. He doesn’t spend time pointing out that all who perished were given plenty of time to heed the warning and the preaching of Noah while the ark was being built. The scoffers continued to scoff even as the animals miraculously converged on the ark and walked on board, or crawled, or slithered–that must have been a sight to see!

God promised that He would not destroy the entire earth by flood again. He did NOT promise, though, that He wouldn’t use another way to do so.

Peter’s point is that things on this earth have not always continued the way they are now. The earth was different when God first created it and then it was different again after the flood. Therefore no one should scoff at God’s promise that He will make it different once again, judging it not with water but with fire. The same word of God that created all matter and judged the world in the flood will one day bring a judgment of fire upon the earth.

i. “The lesson taught by the flood was that this is a moral universe, that sin will not for ever go unpunished; and Jesus Himself used the flood to point to this moral (Matthew 24:37-39). But these men chose to neglect it.” (Green)(BlueLetterBible.com, Guzik)

Uniformitarianism is the theory that all changes in the earth’s crust during geological history have resulted from the action of continuous and uniform processes, and will always continue to do so. This theory leaves no room for a sovereign God Who spoke the heavens and the earth and all they contain into existence; and that He can end all that He made when He so chooses.

Willing ignorance.

Scoffers

II Peter 3:3-4.

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Peter desired his readers to be mindful of false prophets. As they have always existed, they will continue to exist. They will proliferate as the end times approach, because more and more people will be drawn to the puffed up promises of these false teachers. The people who follow false teachers will be a huge money source for the unbiblical “prophets” who follow their teaching.

Peter says these false teachers walk after their own lusts. That is, they follow the path of least resistance to gain their own selfish desires. Those desires can cover every aspect of human desire and depravity, all under the guise of their great, spiritually empty but cleverly disguised promises of health, wealth and happiness.

The scoffers will question the truth of the biblical prophesies of the return of Jesus. They will say, “So, where is He? Nothing has changed in this world. He still hasn’t returned to establish His kingdom, and it’s been SUCH a long time! Look how His followers have suffered over the centuries! And still nothing has really changed. He promised to come back, right? Well, WHEN? Look, you can wait for the rest of your lives, but the only way things are going to improve is if you take control of your own lives. Just send me a gift to support this ministry, and I’ll send you a book with step-by-step instructions for living a free and happy life! Send your gift today! Don’t wait one more minute to begin your journey to a better life!”

If. you fall for that pitch, you may as well be sending in cereal box tops for that wonderful plastic decoder ring you coveted as a child. It probably had as much value as the empty claims of wealth, health and happiness that come from false teachers.

Reminders

II Peter 3: 1-2.

This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

Peter refers to his first epistle as well as this second one that he is writing to the Christians in Asia. His purpose, clearly stated, is to stimulate their thinking by reminding them of the words of the prophets, the other apostles, and of the Lord, Himself, concerning the dangers always lurking, trying to persuade them that their faith is vain.

There really is nothing new under the sun, is there? Since the beginning, Satan has worked hard to deceive us and to bend the truth. Sometimes he succeeds. Consider Eve. The Genesis account tells us that she was deceived (Gen. 3:13; I Tim. 2:14). She was persuaded by lies and promises of being just like God.

Our best defense against Satan’s lies is the Word of God. When we are completely familiar with truth, we are far less likely to fall into deceptive traps that are shrouded with a thin layer of truth. I have used the example before of how new tellers at a bank are trained to recognize counterfeit money. They learn to recognize the false by being thoroughly exposed to the real thing. When we are diligent in reading and studying God’s Word, we are far less likely to be deceived by the perversion of His Word.

Peter says here that he wants to stimulate their “pure minds” with reminders of God’s truth. This is exactly the reason I started this blog over ten years ago, and have been writing ever since. There is no way to exhaust the truth of God’s Word. Studying the Bible in order to teach it is, for me, one of the best ways to truly learn and understand it.

Why did Peter emphasize “pure” minds? It is because we do have the old sin nature in us that would lead us to believe the cleverly disguised lies of Satan. The best way to keep that purity of mind is to faithfully be in His Word. Just as we need daily food and water to stay physically healthy, so our minds need daily feeding on the riches of the Word of God.

No Excuses!

II Peter 2:21-22.

For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

God’s words at the end of this chapter, coming to us through Peter, are harsh. Some people would like to erase such words from scripture, keeping only the words of love, grace, and mercy.

We forget that God is holy, and cannot even look on sin. It is an abomination to His character, not to be tolerated.

If you have ever owned a dog, you know the truth that when a dog vomits, he will go back and eat it up again. And pigs like to stay cool, so no matter how clean they may be, they will find a nice, cool mud puddle in which to relax. These are not pretty pictures, but they are truth.

In verse 21, Peter wrote that it would be better for a person never to have known truth than to know it and turn away from it, going back to that which is untrue and even evil.

We are responsible to God for our choices. There will be no arguing or debating at the time of judgment. Those who have known truth and chosen to turn away from it will pay the penalty for doing so. No excuses. The time of grace and mercy, for them, will be gone. Forever. No turning back.

Servants of Corruption

II Peter 2:19-20.

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

Untangling the pronouns will help us to understand more clearly what Peter is saying. I’ve looked in several commentaries, and in several versions, and here is what I have concluded:
The first they in v. 19 refers to false teachers who promise liberty to them, those whom they teach; and often convince that they do not need to live holy in Christ, but are free to live however they please. The irony here is, of course, that the false teachers are themselves servants of corruption as they gather fame and fortune for themselves, thereby becoming servants to what they teach.

New converts (they have escaped the world’s pollution through knowledge of Christ) become tangled up in the screed of the false teachers. Believing they are hearing something new and never before understood in Christianity, they become worse in their behavior than they were before they believed in Christ.

This passage has often been used to teach that people who follow false teachers were either never truly saved, or that they can lose their salvation by turning away from a holy life. I believe there is more credence in the idea that they were never truly born again than that anyone can lose his salvation simply by how he chooses to live. If the latter were true, then we would all be in danger every single day that we live.

We are sinful people, by nature. Even the great Apostle Paul battled just as we do. In Romans 7:21-25 we read about his struggle, which should be familiar to anyone who is honest about his own propensity to sin. The bottom line here is that we do not gain or lose salvation by the way we live. Salvation belongs to God, Who bestows it upon those who believe in Him and receive His gift of eternal life through the blood of Jesus.

When we are born again, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 6:1). His presence in our lives brings an awareness of sin, and a sense of shame when we indulge in sin. It is possible, however, for us to quench the Spirit (I Thess. 5:19) when we choose to continue our sinful behaviors. Thus, we need to always be on guard against the blandishments of false teachers, who are themselves in bondage to corruption.

Empty Wells and Looming Clouds

II Peter 2:17-18.

These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

False teachers, says Peter, are like dry wells. Useless, empty, having nothing to offer, they have nothing to give that will encourage life and health.

Anyone who has lived in tornado country understands “clouds carried with a tempest.”


These looming clouds come with strong winds, heavy rain, and possibly destructive hail. They almost seem human sometimes, ready to drop down and smother everything below.

False teachers ignore the mists of darkness to which they are doomed. Their only interest is in gaining fame, control, and riches.

They speak great, empty, immoderate, extravagant words; words that tell you that all you have to do is believe, name and claim, and everything you ask for will be given to you. Their allure is to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. We all, in our human thinking, wish we had more–more money, more possessions, better cars, bigger houses, more fame, more influence. Their promises lure those who had been truly free of these carnal desires, and from the blandishments of false teachers who make false promises.

The appeal of false teachers works so well because they are very good at wrapping a kernel of truth with a lot of baloney. The most effective lies are those that contain just enough truth to be convincing.

We need to beg God for discernment and understanding, to be able to identify the false teachers who would lure us into beliefs that will make them rich and famous.

Balaam, Son of Bosor

II Peter 2:15-16.

Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

The pronoun which, in v. 15, refers to the false teachers in yesterday’s post. Those false teachers left the way of righteousness and followed the way of Balaam, son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. His story is told in Numbers 22-24. A quick summary here is that Balaam and his servants had embarked on a journey to see Balak, King of Moab. Balak had importuned Balaam to put a curse on the Israelites, who were encamped nearby in the plains of Moab.

Balaam was easily tempted with promises of riches and power. He packed up and took his donkey on the trek. But God was not going to allow Balaam to curse His people, so He set an angel in the pathway to keep Balaam from moving forward. When the donkey saw the angel, she turned off into a field to avoid the angel. Balaam, in a temper, beat the donkey to force her to get back onto the road. But she resisted, and spoke to Balaam in what seemed like a human voice. She warned him he’d be in a heap of trouble if he continued. You can read the rest for yourself to find out what happened.

Peter compared false teachers to Balaam, who was willing to curse God’s chosen people in order to gain some treasure and renown. False teachers are in it, not for God’s glory or to help others, but for their own financial gain and glory.

God used the donkey to rebuke Balaam. Peter calls Balaam’s behavior the madness of the prophet.

It is indeed madness, even demon possession, that convinces a person he is perfectly safe to resist and rebel against God. The prophet may seem to get away with his sinful behavior, but he is ultimately answerable to God. So is every false teacher who comes under the auspices of godliness, but is in truth looking only for his own ends. He is serving Satan in order to have riches and fame during his short time on earth. He is not worried about where he will spend all of eternity.

Eyes Full of Adultery

II Peter 2:13-14.

And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;

Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

Peter continues his warnings against false teachers. His words are strong and to the point, and I’m sure some will find them too harsh, offensive, and wish that Peter had spoken more gently.

I would remind you that Jesus Himself used strong, harsh language against the Pharisees (Matt. 23:27), and when He drove the moneychangers out of the temple in Jerusalem (Matt. 21:12), to name just two instances in which He spoke strongly and openly against sin. What is the reason for such sharp rebukes?

The reason is that people are led away from biblical truth by false teachers who put all the emphasis on the wrong thing: Satisfaction of the flesh. Be nice. Don’t offend anyone.

The gospel itself is a rebuke to those who deny Christ.

Peter says that such people will receive the rewards of their unrighteousness. They are like spots and blemishes (defiled, moral blemishes; blots, disgraces to decent society). They sport themselves (to live in luxury, live delicately or luxuriously, to revel in) while they enjoy rich, lavish feasts with you.

Their eyes are full of adultery. What a harsh condemnation for these false teachers, who sometimes preach and teach against the lusts of the flesh while they secretly–and sometimes openly–commit the very sins they preach against. The can’t stop sinning. Worse, they beguile (to bait, catch by a bait; to beguile by blandishments, allure, entice, deceive) weaker people with outright lies, luring them away from biblical standards of behavior.

They are covetous in their hearts, wanting honor and recognition. They love to be praised for their wisdom and understanding of spiritual things, when in fact they are cursed children (an execration, imprecation, curse). The word children, in this context, means children of the devil: those who in thought and action are prompted by the devil, and so reflect his character.

I believe the heart of God is deeply grieved when those who claim to be “called” as pastors misuse their position and influence for evil, deceiving the people they are supposed to be serving. This sin is not limited to any one creed or denomination. Some pastors use the Old Testament command to “touch not God’s anointed” (I Chron. 16:22) to teach people that they ought never, no matter what, speak ill of a pastor. The Old Testament application was to anointed priests and prophets, before the Church ever existed.

There is an abundance of biblical teaching about exposing false prophets. This is a website that quotes 100 passages about exactly that:

https://www.openbible.info/topics/exposing_false_teachers

There is also the right and biblical way to address sin in the context of the church: Matthew 18:15-18 details the steps to take when there is open sin in the church.

We must never shrink in fear of being “out of line” where sin is concerned. How else can people be taught what is biblically correct, if they can never question the supposed spiritual giant behind the pulpit?

If you have a godly, humble servant of God in your church, be thankful. Don’t take him for granted. Be wise and discerning, always ready to speak truth.