Not Willing that Any Should Perish

Responding to a false charge of treacherous teachers, Peter penned these words: “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”  (2 Pet. 3:9).  Consider a few facts that demonstrate God’s desire that no one to be lost.

  • He Sent His Son. One of the most well-known passages of the Bible speaks to this point.  In John 3:16, Jesus revealed God’s great concern for His creation: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Along these same lines, our Lord revealed His mission to mankind by proclaiming, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10).  When one contemplates this great mission of Jesus, the mission His Father sent Him to accomplish and the mission that cost Him his life on Calvary, one can surely see that God is not willing that any should perish.
  • He Established the Church. When Jesus died on the cross, he purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28).  It is this same institution that was in the mind of God from eternity (Eph. 3:10-11), the same one of which the prophets foretold (Is. 2:2-3), the same one that Jesus promised to build (Matt. 16:18), and the same one to which the saved are added (Acts 2:47).  The great lengths to which God went in order to bring about this body (of which the Lord is the Savior – Eph. 5:23) clearly demonstrates that God is not willing that any should perish.
  • He Provided His Word.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  By means of this Holy Book, God’s love for humanity and His instructions for the same are made known.  What’s more, the Divine Record reveals to man how he can be complete in this life and prepared for the next.  This revelation shows again that God is not willing that any should perish.

While a number of other matters demonstrate God’s desire that no one be lost, one particular point must be stressed.  Man makes the final decision regarding the salvation of his soul.  God has done His part to save the souls of His creation (as noted in the points above), and now each soul must respond in a positive fashion to the conditions of the Gospel.  God will force no one, but gives everyone the opportunity to turn to Him in His appointed way—He desires for all to “come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).

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