The Staunch Calvinist

"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards

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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 3: Of God's Decree - Commentary

...retive counsel in Heaven and also on the Earth (Dan. 4:35). He is the God of the big things and small things. Indeed, as Dr. R.C. Sproul has observed: “There are no maverick molecules in the Universe.” God doesn't need our advise nor is He dependent upon us, rather, He works all things according to the counsel of His will. One cannot deny the absolute God-centeredness of Ephesians 1. It starts by a clear doctrine of divine election in vv. 3-6 and in v. 11, which begins by a restatement about election, which is also said to be according to His will (Eph. 1:5; see the case for election below in paragraph 5). This PREDESTINATION of the elect is an example of what it means for God to “work all things according to His will.” Albert Barnes comments on this verse, saying:

His agency is not confined to one thing, or to one class of objects. Every object and event is under his control, and is in accordance with his eternal plan. The word rendered “worketh” - ἐνεργέω energeō - means to work, to be active, to produce; Eph. 1:20; Gal 2:8; Phi 2:13. A universal agency is ascribed to him. “The same God which “worketh” all in all;” 1Co 12:6. He has an agency in causing the emotions of our hearts. “God, who worketh in you both to Will and to do of his good pleasure;” Phi 2:13. He has an agency in distributing to people their various allotments and endowments. “All these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will;” 1Co 12:11.

The agency of God is seen everywhere. Every leaf, flower, rose-bud, spire of grass; every sun-beam, and every flash of lightning; every cataract and every torrent, all declare his agency; and there is not an object that we see that does not bespeak the control of an All-present God. It would be impossible to affirm more explicitly that God’s agency is universal, than Paul does in the passage before us. He does not attempt to prove it. It is one of those points on which he does not deem it necessary to pause and reason, but which may be regarded as a conceded point in the discussion of other topics, and which may be employed without hesitation in their illustration. Paul does not state the “mode” in which this is done. He affirms merely the fact. He does not say that he “compels” men, or that he overbears them by mere physical force. His agency he affirms to be universal; but it is undoubtedly in accordance with the nature of the object, and with the laws which he has impressed on them.[6]

Let's take a look at what the Bible says about God's counsel, will, and purpose.

Ps. 33:10-11 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. 11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. 

It is Yahweh's plans and counsel which will come to pass in contrast to man's plans. God frustrates the plans of man and He prevails over their counsels. But His plans, in contrast, will stand and will not be frustrated. This is something that even a pagan king knew. It amazes me that when even a pagan can recognize the absolute sovereignty of God, but some of His children do not want to acknowledge His sovereignty in all things. Nebuchadnezzar said:

Dan. 4:34-35 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from gen...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling - Commentary

...wbnb" id="footnote-9">^ Ibid., p. 80. ...

A Review of RC Sproul's Willing to Believe & Thoughts on Free Will

... of Adam until freed by Christ have.
  • Non posse peccare is the impossibility to sin. This is what those in Christ will have in the eternal state.
  • Augustine like all Calvinists rejected Pelagius’ foreknowledge view of election and taught that God predestined according to His good pleasure without “looking into the future.” He predestined not because men believed, but He predestined so that men would believe.

    Martin Luther

    Some more than thousand years later there came a dispute between Desiderius Erasmus and Martin Luther. Luther taught the Augustinian view of freedom and PREDESTINATION and Erasmus was on the Semi-Pelagian side, only he seemed to think that this topic has no much significance for the average Christian. Luther responded by saying that how isn’t it of any significance for people to know if they must do things for salvation or it comes wholly by the grace of God. For Luther, the subject of free will could not be divorced from Sola Fide and Sola Gratia and it is therefore important to understand. Luther taught the doctrine of Augustine, who taught the doctrine of Paul, who taught the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Luther strengthened the argument of foreknowledge in regards to free will. He said that if God knows all things, then there could be no choice B. Foreknowledge makes certain that our choices will happen. Luther taught that “God foreknows nothing contingently, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His own immutable, eternal and infallible will.” As RC says about Luther’s view: God wills what he foreknows and foreknows whatever he wills.

    Luther taught about the necessity of choices. If God knows all things, doesn’t that make our choices necessary and therefore somehow compulsory? Luther started his discussion of necessity in The Bondage of the Will by saying that “necessity” is a bad word. It gives the idea of compulsion and against one’s will, which it not what Luther means by necessity. What he meant by “necessity” is that the choices are certain to happen because of God’s perfect foreknowledge. He absolutely did not mean that the choices are against man’s will. They’re certain to happen.

    One last thing about Luther, he didn’t like the term “free will.” He thought that it gave men a wrong notion of human freedom, what people often think when they say free will is the ability to do both the good and the bad. This Luther rejected. I also think that the term free will, if used it must be used with qualification. Perhaps moral agency or moral responsibility is a better term.

    John Calvin

    Now we come to the giant himself, whose name is mostly associated in the free will and PREDESTINATION debate: John Calvin. RC observes that Calvin taught nothing that Luther did not about free will.

    Calvin believed that free will meant the ability to freely choose without compulsion. He’s in line with the Augustinians before him. He, like Luther had a distaste for the term “free will” and thought it a too high and lofty title for the reality. Because he believed that the will is determined by the nature of man, as sinful man can only sin because that is all that he desires, therefore to call it free is too high and lofty. Surely man has a desire for the good, but it’s not the good that is defined by God. Everyone wants a happy family, a good house and wants to be helpful to others, but not in the manner that God has prescribed. We want worldly good, but without the Spiri...


    Ephesians 1:10, 'unite all things in him'

    ...uthority is the Lord Jesus’ (Mt 28:18); the Father has put everything under his feet (Eph 1:22; Heb 2:8; 1Cor 15:24-28); the Lord Jesus is the head of all rule and authority (Col 2:10); everyone will bow down to Him, whether as servants or as defeated enemies (Phil 2:10). See also the use of Colossians 1:20 by Universalists or Universal Atonement advocates here. That is a text which to the sovereignty of Christ much like this passage here.

    There seems to be no reason to think that this verse refers to salvation beyond the grave, after given an amazing display of God’s PREDESTINATION to salvation in the opening verses (Eph 1:3-6), salvation by grace through faith (2:8-9). After death comes the judgment (Heb 9:27). All things will be put under His feet and they already are actually— since all authority is given to the Lord Jesus (Mt 28:18), He already is Lord both of the living and the dead (Rom 14:9) and He upholds the universe by His omnipotence (Heb 1:3).

    Commentaries

    Let’s take a look at few commentaries and see how they understand the word “anakephalaiomai,“ shall we?

    Here is what the Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible says:[3]

    Gather together in one , [ anakephalaioosasthai (G346)] - 'sum up again (in their original unity) for Himself under one head;' 'recapitulate.' The 'good pleasure which He purposed' was 'to sum up all things [ ta (G3588) panta (G3956): 'THE whole range of things'] in Christ' [ to (G3588) Christoo (G5547): 'the Christ']. God sums up the whole creation in Christ, the Head of angels, with whom He is linked by His invisible nature; and of men, with whom He is linked by His humanity; of Jews and Gentiles; of the living and the dead (Eph 3:15); of animate and inanimate creation. Sin has disarranged the creature's relation of subordination to God. God gathers up all in Christ (Col 1:20). Alford, 'The Church is subordinated to Him in conscious and joyful union; those who are not His spiritually in mere subjugation, yet consciously: the inferior creatures unconsciously;-objectively, all are summed up in Him.'

    The Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges says the following:[4]

    ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ χριστῷ, ‘to sum up the universe in the Christ.’ These words define the ultimate end of the Gracious Purpose, the ‘one far off Divine event to which the whole Creation moves.’ ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι, properly a word in Rhetoric, Lat. collectio, describing the rapid repetition and summarizing of an orator’s points previous to his practical conclusion. St Paul uses it (Rom 13:9) of the relation between the command ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’ and all the commandments of the Second Table. Strictly, therefore, the words mean “to bring together each separate element in Creation in such a way that ‘the Christ’ may be the fitting description of the whole.” This meaning helps to explain the presence of the article τῷ χριστῷ, ct. Eph 1:3, ἐν Χριστῷ. Otherwise it would be difficult not to believe that, however incorrectly in point of etymology, St Paul, in speaking ‘of bringing the universe together under one head,’ was thinking of Christ not as κεφάλαιον, but as κεφαλή, cf. Eph 1:22. A further development of the thought I owe to a note communicated by my friend Canon G. H. Whitaker: ‘Plutarch says ἡ πόλις οἴκων τι σύστημα καὶ κεφάλαιον οὖσα (Cat. maj. 454 A). Now a well-planned city explains the point of the several houses. It is an ordered who

    ......


    Welcome To The Staunch Calvinist

    ... a particular subject. As of 18/09/2016 the commentary is complete:

    1. Of the Holy Scriptures
    2. Of God and the Holy Trinity (the attributes of God and a case for the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity)
    3. Of God’s Decree (I make a case for PREDESTINATION, election, reprobation and absolute sovereignty even over evil and sin)
    4. Of Creation
    5. Of Divine Providence
    6. Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof (Total Depravity)
    7. Of God’s Covenant (1689 Federalism)
    8. Of Christ the Mediator (including a case for the Substitutionary Atonement, Active and Passive Obedience of Christ, Definite Atonement and answers to passages used against the doctrine)
    9. Of Free WIll (with the help of Jonathan Edwards, the consistency of moral agency being found in carrying one's desires, the inconsistencies of libertarian free will, explanation of necessity and inability)
    10. Of Effectual Calling (with a case for infant salvation)
    11. Of Justification (faith is a gift and regeneration precedes faith)
    12. Of Adoption
    13. Of Sanctification
    14. Of Saving Faith
    15. Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation
    16. Of Good Works
    17. Of The Perseverance Of The Saints (Positive case for the Reformed doctrine and responses to passages such as Hebrews 6 and the like)
    18. Of The Assurance Of Grace And Salvation
    19. Of The Law Of God (Threefold Division of the Law, the Decalogue before Moses, a brief exposition of the Decalogue, ceremonial and civil laws, the abiding moral law under the New Covenant in the OT prophecy and the NT, Threefold Uses of the Law, The Law and the Gospel)
    20. Of The Gospel, And Of The Extent Of The Grace Thereof
    21. Of Christian Liberty And Liberty of Conscience
    22. Of Religious Worship And the Sabbath Day (A case for the Regulative Principle of Worship and the Christian Sabbath)
    23. Of Lawful Oaths And Vows
    24. Of The Civil Magistrate
    25. Of Marriage
    26. Of The Church
    27. Of the Communion of Saints
    28. Of Baptism And The Lord's Supper
    29. Of Baptism
    30. Of The Lord's Supper
    31. Of The State Of Man After Death And Of The Resurrection Of The Dead (Intermediate State Hades, Sheol, Heaven; A Case for Amillennial Eschatology; critique of Premillennialism)
    32. Of The Last Judgment (Endless punishment in Hell contra Annihilationism)
    ...

    God's Absolute Sovereignty: Concise Scripture List

    The LORD reigns

    Eph 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

    Heb 1:3 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

    1Ch 29:11-12; Ps 115:3, 135:6; Rom 11:36; Col 1:15-17; Heb 1:3

    Over life and death

    1Sm 2:6-8 The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. 7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts. 8 He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and on them he has set the world.

    Ex 4:11; Dt 32:39

    Good and ill; Peace and war

    Isa 45:5-7 I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. 7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity , I am the LORD, who does all these things.

    Job 2:10; Lam 3:37-38; Amos 3:6; 1Pet 4:19

    The LORD’s Decree

    Ps 33:10-12 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. 11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

    Isa 41:21-24 Set forth your case, says the LORD; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. 22 Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come. 23 Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified. 24 Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you.

    Isa 46:8-11 Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, 9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ 11 calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.

    Job 42:2; Ps 115:3, 135:6; Prov 16:4, 33

    Sovereignty over and in the lives of men

    Prov 20:24 A man's steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?

    1Cor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

    Prov 16:1,9,21:1; Phil 2:12-13

    Sovereignty over evil and sin

    Jesus

    Acts 2:22-23, 4:26-28; Isa 53:10

    Joseph

    Gn 37:4-8, 20, 45:5, 8, 50:20; Ps 105:16-17

    Job

    Job 1, 2:10, 42:11

    Assyria, the rod of His anger

    Isa 10:5-6, 12-13, 15-16, 14:24-27

    Reprobation

    Jn 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the n...


    1 John 2:2, 'for the sins of the whole world'

    1 John 2:2 

    My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father,  Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2 (ESV)

    (For a better and more recent defense see here.)

    The first word to examine is propitiation. Propitiation (ἱλασμός, G2434) means the appeasement of (divine wrath of) God. Thus it means the forgiveness of sins as seen for example in Rom 3:25, 1 Jn 4:10.  If we take the “sins of the world world” to mean the sins of every single individual who has ever lived, then we have Universalism on our hands, which is not consistent with the whole testimony of the Bible. Second, we know from the Bible that we have to believe to be saved, we need to have faith to be redeemed (Rom 10:9-10; c.f. “Repentance and faith are necessary for salvation”).

    There is a passage in the Gospel according to John that is very similar to 1 Jn 2:2 and I believe it will help us understand what 1 Jn 2:2 is talking about. The passage is Jn 11:51-52.

    1 John 2:2 John 11:51-52
    He is the propitiation for our sins, …he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation,
    and not for ours only and not for the nation only,
    but also for the sins of the whole world. but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

    John, as a Jew apostle of Jesus was talking to fellow Jew believers and telling them that God not only has a special love for Israel, but also for people/nations outside of Israel. That, Jesus didn’t only die for His people according to the flesh, but also for those who were not Jews, which was shocking to the Jews. This is almost the same message of love that God has for people/nations other than Israel in Jn 3:16.

    So, when we put 1 Jn 2:2 and Jn 11:51-52 together to understand 1 Jn 2:2 better, we see that the Apostle is using the word “the whole world” in 1 Jn 2:2 not as every individual who lives or has lived, but more as the “children of God who are scattered abroad.“ And those are the ones for whom Christ died, the Gentile elect and the Jew elect.

    Commentaries

    The ESV Study Bible explains: [1]

    1 John 2:2 Propitiation (Gk.hilasmos) here means “a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath and turns it to favor,” and that is also the meaning of the English word “propitiation.” (See note on Rom. 3:25.) As the perfect sacrifice for sin, Jesus turns away God’s wrath (see also 1 John 4:10). For the sins of the whole world does not mean that every person will be saved, for John is clear that forgiveness of sins comes only to those who repent and believe the gospel (see 2:4, 23; 3:10; 5:12; cf.John 3:18; 5:24). But Jesus’ sacrifice is offered and made available to everyone in “the whole world,” not just to John and his current readers. 

    The ESV MacArthur Study Bible explains:  [2]

    Propitiation. C.f. 4:10. The word means “appeasement” or “satisfaction.” The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross satisfied the demands of God’s holiness for the punishment of sin (cf. Rom. 1:18; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph 2:3). So Jesus propitiated or satisfied God. For the sins of the whole world. This is a generic term, referring not to every single individual, but to mankind in general. Christ actually paid the penalty only for those who would repent and believe. A number of Scripture i...


    Romans 11:32, 'he may have mercy on all'

    For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. (Romans 11:32, ESV)

    This is a verse I’ve seen used by Universalists and obviously they take the all’s to mean the whole human race without exception. But is this really what the verse teaches after the section of Romans known as God’s Sovereign Choice (Rom 9-11)?

    It can be reasonably seen that all here refers to Jews and Gentiles, but not every single one of them that has lived or will live. The earlier chapters (9-11) very well emphasize God’s sovereignty in salvation. God has mercy on whom He wills (Rom 9:15), mercy only comes from God and it’s entirely depended on God (Rom 9:16). It seems then very inconsistent for us to take the all without exception rather than all without distinction. 

    Commentaries

    A brief comment is made by the ESV Study Bible: [1]

    Rom. 11:32 The word all here refers to Jews and Gentiles (all without distinction, not all without exception). The sin and disobedience of both Jews and Gentiles is highlighted, to emphasize God’s mercy in saving some among both Jews and Gentiles.

    John Gill writes:

    For God hath concluded them all in unbelief,.... Both Jews and Gentiles, particularly God's elect among them: some think the metaphor is taken from the binding up of sheaves in bands; and that Jews and Gentiles are the sheaves, and unbelief the band, in which they are bound together; but the apostle is not speaking of their being together in unbelief, but as separate, first the Gentiles, and now the Jews: rather it seems to be taken from a prison, and Jews and Gentiles are represented as prisoners, and unbelief the prison, in which they are shut up by God: not that God is the author of unbelief, or of any other sin in men; he does not put it into them, or them into that, but finding them in unbelief, concludes them in it, or leaves them in such a state, and does not as yet however deliver out of it, or say to the prisoners, go forth: moreover, to be "concluded in unbelief", is the same as to be "concluded under sin", Ga 3:22; that is, to be thoroughly convinced of it; and to be held and bound down by such a sense of it in the conscience, as to see no way to escape deserved punishment, or to obtain salvation, but by fleeing to the mercy of God in Christ:

    that he might have mercy upon all: not upon all the individuals of Jews and Gentiles; for all are not concluded in, or convinced of the sin of unbelief, but only such who are eventually believers, as appears from the parallel text, Ga 3:22; and designs all God's elect among the Jews, called "their fulness",  Ro 11:12; and all God's elect among the Gentiles, called "the fulness of the Gentiles",  Ro 11:25; for whom he has mercy in store, and will bestow it on them; and in order to bring them to a sense of their need of it, and that he may the more illustriously display the riches of it, he leaves them for a while in a state of unbelief, and then by his Spirit thoroughly convinces them of it, and gives them faith to look to, and believe in, the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life. John Gill, Exposition of the Entire Bible

    Adam Clarke in his commentary said the following:

    Verse 32.  For God hath concluded them all in unbelief] συνεκλεισεγαροθεος, God hath shut or locked them all up under unbelief.  This refers to the guilty state of both Jews and Gentiles.  They had all broken God's law-the Jews, the written law; the Gentiles, the law written in thei...


    1 Corinthians 15:22-23, 'in Christ shall all be made alive'

    For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:22-23 (ESV)

    Yes, in Adam all humanity spiritually died, through the inheritance of sin from our forefather Adam. He was the representative of humanity in the Garden. The phrase “in Christ” is used in Rom 8:1 (c.f. Rom 6:11; 12:5; 16:7; 1 Cor 1:2), which states “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, the believers are the ones who are not condemned (Jn 3:18) thus those who “in Christ shall all be made alive” are those who are “in Christ.”

    In v. 23 we see who will be made alive and it is clear from 1 Cor 6:14 (And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power, c.f. 15:52) that the believers are the ones whom God will raise up, not the reprobate.

    The ESV Study Bible explains: [1]

    1 Cor. 15:22 in Adam all die. See Rom. 5:12, 14–15, 17; Eph. 2:1, 5. in Christ shall all be made alive. See Rom. 5:17, 21; 6:4; Eph. 2:5–6. By divine appointment, Adam represented the whole human race that would follow him, and his sin therefore affected all human beings. Similarly, Christ represented all who would belong to him, and his obedience therefore affected all believers (see note on 1 Cor. 15:23).

    1 Cor. 15:23 at his coming. When Christ returns, all his people from all time will receive resurrection bodies, never again subject to weakness, illness, aging, or death. Until that time, those who have died exist in heaven as spirits without bodies (see 2 Cor. 5:8; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 6:9). Those who belong to Christ demonstrates that the “all” in relation to Christ in 1 Cor. 15:22 does not imply universalism.

    The ESV MacArthur Study Bible sheds some light: [2]

    1 Cor. 15:22 all . . . all. The two “alls” are alike only in the sense that they both apply to descendants. The second “all” applies only to believers (see Gal. 3:26, 29; 4:7; Eph. 3:6; cf. Acts 20:32; Titus 3:7) and does not imply universalism (the salvation of everyone without faith). Countless other passages clearly teach the eternal punishment of the unbelieving (e.g., Matt. 5:29; 10:28; 25:41, 46; Luke 16:23; 2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 20:15).

    The HCSB Study Bible: [3]

    15:21-22 Paul presents a parallel of necessary effects. Through one man, Adam, death came to humanity. If this is ever to be reversed, it must be done so through like kind: a man. God has appointed just such a man: Jesus Christ, who is fully divine and fully human. Through His resurrection the promise of resurrection comes to a new humanity "in Christ." The second occurrence of the word all refers to all those who are joined to Christ through faith.

    15:23 Jesus' resurrection precedes and makes certain the resurrection of those who belong to Christ at His coming.

    Here is what Johann Albrecht Bengel said about 1 Cor 15:22: [4]

    1Co 15:22. Πάντες ἀποθνήσκουσιν, all die) he says, die, not in the preterite, as for example, Rom 5:17; Rom 5:21, but in the present, in order that in the antithesis he may the more plainly speak of the resurrection, as even still future. And he says, all. Those who are in the highest degree wicked die in Adam; but Paul is here speaking of the godly, of whom the first fruits, ἀπαρχὴ, is Christ, and as these all die in Adam, so also shall they all be made alive in Christ. Scripture everywhere deals with believers, and treats primarily o...


    2 Peter 3:8-9, not wishing that any should perish

    But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9 (ESV)

    (For a better and more recent defense see here.)

    This is one of what is called the “Arminian Big Three.” And it is huge when you don’t consider the context. All you see is that God doesn’t want anyone to go to hell, yet somehow being the Almighty, He is not able/willing to save them, but instead sends so many to hell, because they sin against Him. What people mostly miss is that this passage (v 9) actually is not referring to non-believers or the entire human race, but to God’s elect and we will see why. (Please understand that I am not saying that God loves sending people to hell, no, I totally believe Ezek 18:23, 32. But what I believe is that God is glorified in the damnation of the reprobate indeed, Prov 16:4; Rom 9:22).

    The first thing we need to examine is to whom all these words refer to (you, any, all). It is clear from the greeting of Peter’s second letter to whom this letter is directed, “…To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (1:1), thus believers, God’s elect. 2 Pet 3:1 says that those recipients have had received another letter from Peter, that is 1 Peter and we directly see in v 1, “…To those who are elect exiles…” We see again at the beginning of 2 Pet 3:8 that Peter is talking to the “beloved,” a term used referring to Jesus or the believers. Thus we have established that the context and the audience to whom these passages are directed are fellow believers of Peter. In chapter 3 Peter warns his fellow believers about those who will come scoffing about the Second Coming, that it has not yet happened yet Jesus said that He will come soon. He tells them that this present Universe is stored up for wrath (v 7); time is nothing with God (v 8); God is patient toward His sheep, waiting for the ones who yet have to be born and/or be saved, so the Lord is patient toward His own and He’s not willing that any of them perish, but all of them come to Him (v 9).

    In 2 Peter 3, the Christians – all God's elect are represented by Peter's audience as His beloved, even when they were dead in trespasses God loved them (Eph 2:1-10) and in love predestined them (Eph 1:3-6). It is for their sake that God is delaying the Parousia of our blessed Savior. God is waiting until the number of His elect is complete then He will send the Savior to judge the world in righteousness.

    Commentaries

    John MacArthur says the following in the ESV MacArthur Study Bible [1]

    2 Pet. 3:9 not slow. That is, not loitering or late (cf. Gal. 4:4; Titus 2:13; Heb. 6:18; 10:23, 37; Rev. 19:11). patient toward you. “You” is the saved, the people of God. He waits for them to be saved. God has an immense capacity for patience before he breaks forth in judgment (cf. 2 Pet. 3:15; Joel 2:13; Luke 15:20; Rom. 9:22; 1 Pet. 3:15). God endures endless blasphemies against his name, along with rebellion, murders, and the ongoing breaking of his law, waiting patiently while he is calling and redeeming his own. It is not impotence or slackness that delays final judgment; it is patience. not wishing that any should perish. The “any” must refer to those whom the L...