13 July, 2017

II Peter 3:15—“… account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation …”

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 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 (II Pet. 3:14-15).

One of the primary effects of common grace is said, by proponents, to be that “God exercises forbearance and longsuffering towards the world. Man collectively deserves the judicial outpouring of divine wrath, but God suspends it” (Donald Macleod, Behold Your God [Christian Focus, 1990], p. 118).

Peter, in this passage, says we should esteem the longsuffering of God over mankind as “salvation.” In the opinion of some, this should be interpreted as (i) a supposed “time of opportunity” or “offer of salvation” for the reprobate to repent and believe the gospel—something which they do not deserve, and (ii) the reprobate are said to possess “salvation” in the sense that they are not already in hell.


Prof. David J. Engelsma

In general, the case has been made that longsuffering is God’s loving attitude towards His elect people in their suffering in the world. In His fatherly love, He is moved to deliver them at once from their sufferings at the hands of the wicked but allows them to suffer because He is working out His plan for their full salvation and His plan for the wicked’s filling their cup of iniquity. It is comparable to the surgeon’s performance of a painful surgery upon his own dear child. He is inclined to spare the child, but in love for the child’s good he performs the surgery. 
II Peter 3:15 teaches that longsuffering is God’s attitude and action with regard to His church, not with regard to the wicked world. The text plainly states that longsuffering is “salvation.” It is not merely a weak, ineffective, frustrated desire for salvation. (DJE, 13/07/2017)



Rev. Angus Stewart


[Source: “Does II Peter 3:9 Teach that God Desires to Save Absolutely Everybody?”—originally published in the Covenant Reformed News, vol. 10, nos. 1-2 (May-June 2004)]

Here Peter teaches that those to whom God is longsuffering are saved. This is an established fact to be reckoned as a first principle in understanding God’s longsuffering: “account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (v. 15).


Notice three things in this text. First, the apostle asserts that “the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation,” for those to whom the sovereign and omnipotent God is longsuffering are always saved! Second, this is to be a theological first principle with Christians in their thinking regarding Jehovah’s longsuffering: “account [i.e., consider, deem, think or reckon with deliberate and careful judgment] that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.”

… God’s longsuffering is particular since it is always salvific or saving: “the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (II Pet. 3:15).



Prof. Herman C. Hanko

[Source: Another Look at Common Grace (2019 edition), p. 46]

This is a strong statement. It means that God’s longsuffering is identical with salvation. It is the same thing as salvation. When longsuffering is showed to a man, that constitutes his salvation.



Mark H. Hoeksema

[Source: Knowing God in the Last Days: Commentary on 2 Peter (RFPA, 2017), pp. 81-82]

The church was correctly and in a good sense somewhat impatient for the coming of the Lord (“hasting unto,” v. 12). Peter has already instructed the church that God is not slack concerning his promise (v. 9), and now he reiterates that thought in terms of longsuffering. God’s apparent postponement or delay of his coming must be attributed to his longsuffering, which is his desire to save his elect in the way of and by means of their suffering as they live in the wicked world. This longsuffering, the church must remember, is salvation. Despite their being persecuted, the church must reckon that he is the God of their salvation, who saves them speedily according to his counsel and promise.



More to come! (DV)

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