13 July, 2017

II Peter 3:15—“And 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 KJV).

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. 



More to come! (DV)

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