2 Peter 3:9

By Dr. Ken Matto

(2 Pet 3:9 KJV) 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.
This scripture verse has been one of the most misused in the entire Bible. Unfortunately, this verse is left to stand alone and in its isolated state, seems to be the source for a wide teaching, that God wants everyone to be saved. The problem with that theory is that not everyone is becoming saved. The word “willing” is the Greek word “Boulomai” (boulomai) which carries with it the meaning of “willing desire, intention, or inclination” and it is from the Greek root word “boul” (boul) which indicates a “planned desire.”
Now if it is God’s plan that everyone become saved, then we have a problem with God’s plan, it is simply not working. If God plans something, then it will come to pass as we have many examples in Scripture. The universal flood, the destruction of Egypt, the destruction of Jericho. All these events happened and no human intervention could stop them. Even Abraham could not prevent the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim.
Now let us go back to our Scripture above. When it speaks of the long suffering of God, it does not mean that he is waiting for people to accept Him. This would never happen because of the following Scriptures.
(Rom 3:11 KJV) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
(Eph 2:1 KJV) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:
(Eph 2:5 KJV) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
The reigning condition of unsaved mankind is that they are spiritually dead and that condition will disallow them from seeking God. The dead can do nothing but remain dead, unless they are raised to life from an outside source. This means that unless God raises a person, they remain dead. Did Lazarus raise himself or did the Lord Jesus Christ give him back his life? We know it was Christ who did it. Lazarus was a rotting corpse which is representative of people being spiritually dead corpses. This disallows anyone from giving themselves spiritual life by raising themselves. Dead is dead and that is it.
The longsuffering of God that we see in this verse, has nothing to do with God waiting for an individual “to accept Him” simply because it is impossible for the spiritually dead to make themselves alive. What the Bible is telling us here is that God has a timetable when He is going to end the world. The long suffering or patience of God is that when the Bible was written, there were many hundreds of years left for Earths existence. God’s patience is that He is waiting for the last one to become saved and then He will end it all up.  The same principle of time is found in the following verse.
(1 Pet 3:20 KJV) Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

What does this verse above teach about the longsuffering of God? He wasn’t waiting for people to accept Him or turn to Him, He was waiting for the completion of the Ark.

Let me give a quick analogy. If we were to understand the longsuffering of God to mean that He sits in Heaven waiting for some dead sinner to accept Him, then we can liken that to a person who loses a friend or loved one in death. Instead of them burying that person, they take the coffin and the body to their home and then sit by it day and night waiting for the deceased person to come alive. Now how long do you think it will be before the deceased comes to life by themselves? NEVER! Unless God raises up a person spiritually to newness of life, they too will just remain dead.
So the long suffering of God means He patiently waits for the redemption of all those who were named in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world and have yet come into physical existence according to His time table.
(Rev 13:8 KJV) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
This verse is speaking of the “planned desire” of God to save all His Elect. Now when we leave 2 Peter 3:9 alone, it doesn’t seem to be saying this, therefore, we look for other corroborating verses to see if we are on the right path.
(John 6:39 KJV) And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
We did not have to look far for the biblical evidence. When we read John 6:39 and compare it with 2 Peter 3:9, we see that God is giving the Elect to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Lord Jesus Christ will not lose one or “not willing that any should perish.” The ones who will not perish are those whom God gives to the Lord Jesus or otherwise known as “The Elect.”
To isolate 2 Peter 3:9 and then try to create some mythical free will theology on it, makes one guilty of eisegesis which means “placing meaning where it does not belong.” The biblical rule of hermeneutics is to compare Scripture with Scripture. (1 Cor 2:13 KJV) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. The most dangerous Bible interpretation method is to interpret something though emotion or human desire without doing a study in Scripture. 90% of the time we will find that Scripture will always discredit what we want to believe. Remember it is God’s Bible and God’s message to us, not ours to Him!