2 Peter 3:9

Starting this new thread so that the discussion at http://sharperiron.org/article/wanted-more-arminians]Wanted: More Arminians can stay on topic

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JohnBrian's picture

dan wrote:
My view of 2 Peter 3:8-9 is that it means God is longsuffering toward us (humans), not willing that any should perish.

Peter begins his epistle this way:

2 Peter 1:1 NKJV wrote:
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

When you come across the words "you" and/or "us" in the book, it refers to Peter and those who "have obtained like precious faith."

He begins chapter 3 with the word "beloved," which clearly refers to believers.

2 Peter 3:8-9 wrote:
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Notice in v.9 that God's longsuffering is toward "us" which, following the theme of the book, refers to believers. It is in this context that Peter speaks of God being not willing that any (of us) should perish. The reason Peter gives for the delay of the promise of the Lord's coming is his long suffering toward the beloved.

I believe that your extending of the long suffering to "humans" (all men without exception), fails to keep that phrase in it's proper context.

http://www.scionofzion.com/2_peter_3_9.htm 2 Peter 3:9 by Ken Matto:

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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.

John Gill on 2 Peter 3:9 from the http://thelightheartedcalvinist.com/2010/09/23/john-gill-on-2-peter-39 ]Lighthearted Calvinist :

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...since it appears to be the will of God, that not one of those he has chosen in Christ, given to him, and for whom he died, shall ever perish; and, inasmuch as evangelical repentance is necessary for them, and they cannot come at it of themselves, he freely bestows it on them, and, by his unfrustrable grace, works it in them; and, until this is done unto and upon every one of them, he keeps the world in being, which is reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men.

John Calvin from his commentary, posted at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom45.vii.iv.iii.html CCEL :

Calvin sees the "any" as all mankind!

Quote:
Not willing that any should perish. So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that he would have them all to be saved, and is of his own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost. But the order is to be noticed, that God is ready to receive all to repentance, so that none may perish; for in these words the way and manner of obtaining salvation is pointed out. Every one of us, therefore, who is desirous of salvation, must learn to enter in by this way.

But it may be asked, If God wishes none to perish, why is it that so many do perish? To this my answer is, that no mention is here made of the hidden purpose of God, according to which the reprobate are doomed to their own ruin, but only of his will as made known to us in the gospel. For God there stretches forth his hand without a difference to all, but lays hold only of those, to lead them to himself, whom he has chosen before the foundation of the world.

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dan's picture

JohnBrian wrote:

Peter begins his epistle this way:

2 Peter 1:1 NKJV wrote:
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

When you come across the words "you" and/or "us" in the book, it refers to Peter and those who "have obtained like precious faith."

There are at least two problems with this.

  1. First, "us" in 2 Peter 1:1 clearly does NOT refer to "those who have obtained like precious faith" - it says:
    Quote:
    ... those who have obtained like precious faith with us ...

    So "us" in verse 1 does not even include the recipients of the letter.
  2. It makes no sense for "us" (or "you") in 2 Peter 3:9 to refer to "those who have obtained like precious faith", since they had already come to repentance.

So, "us" in 3:9 can not be restricted in meaning to the same "us" in 1:1.

Quote:

I believe that your extending of the long suffering to "humans" (all men without exception), fails to keep that phrase in it's proper context.
No at all, as I just explained.

"Despair does not lie in being weary of suffering, but in being weary of joy."
G.K. Chesterton

JohnBrian's picture

Looking at 2 Peter 3:9 in the greater context of both his epistles.

In 2 Peter 3:1 he writes:

Quote:
Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle

He’s writing a 2nd time to the same people he previously wrote to. If we look at the recipients of the 1st epistle that will inform us as to whom this epistle is addressed to.

In 1 Peter 1:1-2 he begins by identifying himself and his recipients:

Quote:
[sup ]1[/sup ] Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, [sup ]2[/sup ] elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

We see that he is writing to pilgrims who are elect according to the foreknowledge of God (at this point it doesn’t matter whether one holds to the unconditional or the conditional view of election).

Throughout this letter he uses the pronouns you and us, which refer to this group of elect pilgrims.

1 Peter 1:3-4 wrote:
[sup ]3[/sup ] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [sup ]4[/sup ] to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:20 wrote:
He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

In 1 Peter 2:1-3 he gives instructions to some individual or group:

Quote:
[sup ]1[/sup ] Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, [sup ]2[/sup ] as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, [sup ]3 [/sup ]if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Verse 1 doesn’t tell us specifically who is to obey these instructions, but v.2 informs us that it is you, these same elect pilgrims. Clearly this command is not to the unregenerate, it is only to those who are believers.

In 1 Peter 2:7 we have another group of people introduced – the disobedient:

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Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,

In 1 Peter 2:18-25 we have another group identified – servants, but the command Peter gives to them is based on them being a subset of the elect pilgrim group:

Quote:
[sup ]18[/sup ] Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear,…
[sup ]21[/sup ] For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us,…

In 1 Peter 3, the apostle singles out 2 additional groups – wives and husbands. Here again his instructions to them are based on them being of the elect pilgrim group.

In 1 Peter 3:18 he gives the reason to endure the suffering that is the result of their righteous living:

Quote:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

In chapter 4, Peter continues his encouragement to the elect pilgrims, and in chapter 5, he gives some final encouragement to the elect pilgrims.

Nowhere in this first letter does Peter speak to the non-believers. He gives them no promises, he offers no blessings, and he commands nothing of them. He refers to them in the first few verses of chapter 4 by showing that they face judgment.

Since this letter is included in the Scripture, we understand that the instructions and encouragement are not for these initial recipients solely, but are for the elect pilgrims of all times and in all places.

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JohnBrian's picture

As I noted in Post 1 of this thread, Peter’s 2nd letter begins by addressing those “who have obtained like precious faith with us.” These are the elect pilgrims of chapter 1, as 2 Peter 3:1 shows.

Dan wrote:
So "us" in verse 1 does not even include the recipients of the letter.

So, "us" in 3:9 can not be restricted in meaning to the same "us" in 1:1.

Let me take a slight detour here to reference the omniscience of God. For those who affirm this doctrine, a necessary corollary is that the number of the elect is fixed, as is the number of the non-elect. Here again it does not matter whether one holds to an unconditional or conditional view of election. There are only 2 columns of people and there can be no movement between those columns.

So even though you (Dan) may be right in noting that there cannot be a restriction in 3:9, you still cannot extend the us to include the non-elect, as they can never become elect.

There are countless numbers of elect pilgrims who have come to salvation in the 1900 years since Peter wrote. All of those, ourselves included, “have obtained like precious faith,” with Peter and these elect pilgrims. The non-elect cannot obtain “like precious faith!”

In 2 Peter 1:4, the apostle includes the obtained-like-precious-faith people in the elect pilgrim group.

Quote:
by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

This verse can only refer to the elect – there are no “great and precious promises” for the non-elect! The rest of this chapter is encouragement for believers

Chapter 2 is about false teachers and their doom. Peter’s harshest words are saved for this group.

Then we come to chapter 3 and the encouragement of verses 8-9

2 Peter 3:8-9 wrote:
[sup ]8[/sup ] But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [sup ]9[/sup ] The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

The question here is, to whom do the words all and any refer?

The answer can be found by determining whom the preceding us refers to! The any and all are any of us, and all of us.

It cannot be all-men-without-exception because the non-elect cannot come to repentance. They cannot move from the non-elect column to the elect column because to admit that possibility requires an abandonment of the doctrine of the omniscience of God.

In 2 Peter 3:14-15 we again see Peter refer to the Lord’s longsuffering as encouragement to believers.

Quote:
[sup ]4[/sup ] Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; [sup ]15[/sup ] and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation – as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

In neither of Peter’s letters are there any promises made to the non-elect. To insist that 2 words, out of all that he wrote, must include the non-elect, when he is specifically writing to the elect is to go beyond the apostle's intent.

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JohnBrian's picture

Jeff Peterson at http://thelightheartedcalvinist.com/2011/07/09/2-peter-39-excerpt-from-a... ]The Lighthearted Calvinist

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As the promise pertains to the return of the Lord Jesus for His own, if there appears to be a delay from the Lord, it is only because not all the elect have been preached to so that they may be quickened to the gospel call.

John Samson at http://effectualgrace.com/2010/11/23/understanding-2-peter-39 ]Effectual Grace

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So, the question in 2 Peter 3:9 is whether “all” refers to all human beings without distinction, or whether it refers to everyone within a certain group.

Christ’s second coming has been delayed so that all the elect can be gathered in. God is not willing that any of the elect should perish, but that all of them come to repentance. Rather than denying election, the verse, understood in its biblical context, is one of the strongest verses in favor of it.

http://www.albatrus.org/english/universalistic/universalistic_passages/2... Albatrus.org provides quotes from a number of writers: Boettner, Sproul, Pink, Owen.

Owen from Death of Death... wrote:
Will not common sense teach us that us is to be repeated in both the following clauses, to make them up complete and full, - namely, "Not willing that any of us should perish, but that all of us should come to repentance?"

from http://www.pbministries.org/Landmark_Baptist/Seminary/Bible_Study_Course... John Gill’s Commentary

Quote:
...a society or company of men are designed, to which the apostle himself belonged, and of which he was a part; and who are described, in his epistles, as the elect of God, called out of darkness, into marvelous light, and having obtained like precious faith with the apostles;

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nbanuchi's picture

John Brian,

Having read your comments, I’m not convinced you are correct, at least, not entirely.

Questions:

1. For what reason does God need to be patient with the recipients of Peter’s second epistle (unless they have fallen into sin and are in danger of apostasy)?

2. Why say God is not willing (“desiring”; “wishing”) that they perish if they are already saved and secured by God’s power for salvation?

3. Why is God waiting for them to repent? Are the recipients of this letter “elect” persons who refuse to repent at the time of the r3.eading of this epistle?

Observations:

1. In a previous post, someone noted that Calvin, in his commentary, understood the “any” to refer to “mankind” and not only the “elect”.

2. “Patience” is equivalent to the OT description of God “by which God bears [I ]with sinners[/I ] (not confined to the “God’s people”, the “elect”, unless, they are fallen in sin), holds back his wrath, refrains from intervening in judgment as soon as the sinner’s deeds deserve it, though not indefinitely” (Bauckman, WBC 50:314). However, such patience extends first to God’s people when they have sinned.

3. However, this is not to say that the “elect” are not the primary referent. It is to say that to limit the “you”, “any”, and “all” to the “elect” is indefensible. Even Baukman, who sees the primary reference is to the believers of Peter’s epistle, concedes that the “opportunity for repentance, can be validly extended…to God’s desire that [I ]all[/I ] people should repent” (Ibid). Repentance can only be demanded in relation to sin, both of the believers who falls into sin and the unbelievers living in sin. It is directed to believers, not as “elect” but as having fallen into sin; and to the unbeliever, not as being of the number of the “elect”, but as one who is unbelieving and lost in sin.

I appreciate the opportunity to present my position. I am not a scholar but merely as one passing by the fields of theology and gathering what flowers and fruits are available at hand.

JohnBrian's picture

Quote:
1. For what reason does God need to be patient with the recipients of Peter’s second epistle (unless they have fallen into sin and are in danger of apostasy)?
There are more that are elect besides these specific recipients - 1900 years of more elect. His long suffering is to allow for the fullness of the elect to be brought to salvation.

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2. Why say God is not willing (“desiring”; “wishing”) that they perish if they are already saved and secured by God’s power for salvation?
Establishes that the full complement of the elect will be saved.

Quote:
3. Why is God waiting for them to repent? Are the recipients of this letter “elect” persons who refuse to repent at the time of the r3.eading of this epistle?
The elect are not born saved, they are brought to salvation by the Holy Spirit by means of the word proclaimed to them.

Romans 10:14-15, NKJV wrote:
[sup ]14[/sup ] How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? [sup ]15[/sup ] And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “ How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Quote:
3. However, this is not to say that the “elect” are not the primary referent. It is to say that to limit the “you”, “any”, and “all” to the “elect” is indefensible.
The text (in it's context) provides the limit. The longsuffering here is toward the us, so the any and all must be any of us, and all of us. To insist that the any and all must refer to all-men-without-exception, when the letter is addressed specifically to The Elect, is indefensible.

Further, if God is waiting for all-men-without-exception to come to repentance, the verse would not need the words towards us, but the inclusion of that phrase creates the limit. Also, since all-men-without-exception will not come to repentance, why has Christ not already returned. Each day that Christ delays His coming, more people are born who will ultimately go to their death and ultimate judgement as unbelievers.

Quote:
Repentance can only be demanded in relation to sin, both of the believers who falls into sin and the unbelievers living in sin. It is directed to believers, not as “elect” but as having fallen into sin; and to the unbeliever, not as being of the number of the “elect”, but as one who is unbelieving and lost in sin.

Acts 17:30. NKJV wrote:
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

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JohnBrian's picture

In this passage you have an ellipsis in the Greek, and also in the English.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ellipsis ]Dictionary.com defines ellipsis thusly:

Quote:
the omission of one or more items from a construction in order to avoid repeating the identical or equivalent items that are in a preceding or following construction, as the omission of been to Paris from the second clause of I've been to Paris, but they haven't.

2 Peter 3:9 could have been written this way:

Quote:
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any of us should perish but that all of us should come to repentance.

Both of the of us phrases have been left out because the context supplies them.

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nbanuchi's picture

JohnBrian,

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and responding. However, I'm not sure I understand what your meaning is when only citing Acts 17:30 in answer what I stated as quoted. Did I or you miss something?

Jurst to make clear, my contention is not that you refer 2 Pet 3:9 to the "elect" but that you refer it exclusively to the elect.

For the following reasons, your argument is not convincing:

1. I think verses like 1 Tim 2:4; 4:10; Ezk 18:23,32; Titus 2:11; and Jn 3:17 would support the contention that God's desire is that "everyone" (NIV) as a sinner would come to repentance; and since the context seems to be eternal salvation (vs.12-13), it is more likely that the writer of this epistle intended - by “you”, “any”, and “all” - contemplated all of mankind in sin. I would not necessarily exclude those reading the epistle at the time or, as you might say, the "future elect" (which, to me, is a misnomer if taken in the Calvinistic sense), but neither do I think all men as sinners are not included.

2. There are those scholars who would disagree with you, for example, as I've stated before, Calvin (unless I misunderstood his comment in his Commentary, which, if that is the case, please advise and show how), and in the following resources available to me:

  • The New Chosen People, p.247-248 (and footnote 70, p.248).
  • Black's NT Commentary, p.363.
  • UBS Handbook, p.153.

I'm not sure if your post #8 is a further response to my post or not. If it is, unfortunately, I am neither a scholar nor an expert in NT Greek so I am not competent to either confirm the accuracy of your analysis of the Greek or offer a response one way or the other (except by referring to scholars expert in the language).

In any case, seeing that there are some scholars (e.g. as listed above) who disagree with your interpretation of the text and rather agree with how I read it, I think it is safe to respectfully hold your position of the text as erred.

nbanuchi's picture

JohnBrian wrote:
2 Peter 3:9 could have been written this way: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any of us should perish but that all of us should come to repentance."

Both of the of us phrases have been left out because the context supplies them.

I have been thinking about you have argued above for the past three days and I need to pass a few considerations by you.

1. Question: What version are you using?

Your rendition seems to alter the verse. Your write that the verse could be written, "longsuffering toward us" but the NIV translates it "patient with you" (also the NASB and RSV).

If your rendition is inaccurate, as suggested by the other translations, why would the writer switch the second phrase to "us": "any of us"? It seems the writer is going from the specific, "you", to the wider, "us", to finally encompass, "all", that is mankind.

2. Is not an ellipsis required to clarify a statement? for example: Lamentations 5:2:

"Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers / Our houses to aliens."

Here, "Our houses to aliens" makes very little sense unless we assume that the writer simply left out "has been turned over". That's the ellipsis. So the way we're supposed read the phrase is, "Our houses [have been turned over ] to aliens".

On what grounds does 2 Peter 3:9 need to be clarified?

It seems to me that no inclusion of words is is necessary for clarity. It is clear that , read as stated, God is patient towards his readers, not willing that any person should perish but every one to come to repentance and, thereby, be saved. Nothing about that is unclear.

The "you", "any", and "all", is nowhere qualified in the text, as I read it, to mean the "elect", or certain divinely chosen individuals at the exclusion of all others. The text makes good sense as it stands. Your appeal to an ellipsis it is not on the basis of the text but on the basis of a doctrinal presupposition. It seems to me that you are attempting to change the whole meaning of the clear meaning of the text.

I'm reminded of a verse where it reads that by Christ "all things were created"; yet, we find an appeal is made something to the effect of an ellipsis, and it is translated in a bible as "all [other ] things". That obviously changes the whole sentence and the meaning of it.

Your suggestion seems to do the same. The sentence structure you wish to change it to may not be that obvious, but it does serve the purpose of changing the whole meaning to support a specific doctrinal viewpoint. There is a big difference in just writing, "all come to repentance" and writing it as, "all of us to come to repentance". This changes the meaning of 2 Peter 3:9 in much the same way the insertions of "other" changes Col 1:16.

As such, I respectfully submit that your explanation is (1) not necessarily warranted by the context, as you argue, and is based, not on a proper reading of the text in question, but upon a theological presupposition; and (2) rather than clarify the text, the insertion "of us" changes the entire meaning, when the meaning, as it stands in its varied translations (as cited above), is already clear as stated. It is interesting that I have not found any translation that subtsantiates your argument. I would think that there might be, at least, a half-dozen or so translation that would insert "of us" (or a least a footnote) as you suggest. Isn't it the job of the translator to make a meaning of a text clear when it is ambiguous?

Although I am not a scholar and have the requisite knowledge of NT Greek, the considerations above lead me to believe that you are clearly erred and unconsciously forcing the meaning of a text to meent specifications of a particular doctrine.

nbanuchi's picture

JohnBrian wrote:
There are more that are elect besides these specific recipients - 1900 years of more elect. His long suffering is to allow for the fullness of the elect to be brought to salvation.
On what textual grounds do you assert that the apostle had “1900 years of more elect” in mind when he wrote the epistle? Note, he writes, “patient with you” (NIV), that is his readers; nothing about being patient with generations not yet born. Are we reading back into the text our own doctrinal perspective?

JohnBrian wrote:
Establishes that the full complement of the elect will be saved.
Again, (1) There is nothing in the text that requires we read into the apostle’s words the idea of generations not yet born; (2) The text does not suggest a “full complement of the elect” to be saved, but only states God’s unwillingness that anyone be lost to sin and damnation. On what textual grounds do you maintain that by “you”, “any”, or “all”, the apostle was considering an "elect" group (let alone anyone else; but see my response re: ellipsis) beyond their present lifetime, 1900 years of generations not yet born? Or are we forcing our own assumptions back into the reading of the texts?

John Brian wrote:
The elect are not born saved, they are brought to salvation by the Holy Spirit by means of the word proclaimed to them.
No argument there, but what does that have to do with the question?

JohnBrian wrote:
The text (in it's context) provides the limit. The longsuffering here is toward the us, so the any and all must be any of us, and all of us. To insist that the any and all must refer to all-men-without-exception, when the letter is addressed specifically to The Elect, is indefensible.
In what way "indefensible"? Please read my previous post in response to your claim of ellipsis. There is no reason why the apostle may not refer to “all men without exception”, even while writing to the elect, when making a general description of God’s attitude towards sinners.

JohnBrian wrote:
Further, if God is waiting for all-men-without-exception to come to repentance, the verse would not need the words towards us, but the inclusion of that phrase creates the limit.
Your right, what appears to be an arbitrary “inclusion of that phrase creates the limit”. Again, see my response to your claim of an ellipsis in the text.

JohnBrian wrote:
Also, since all-men-without-exception will not come to repentance, why has Christ not already returned. Each day that Christ delays His coming, more people are born who will ultimately go to their death and ultimate judgement as unbelievers.
Again, where is the textual ground for the apostle suggesting he has the unborn generations of 1900 years in the future in mind? Are we reading the text “back to the future”?