2Pe 3:9-10 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
My dear fellow laborers in the kingdom of God, rest assured that the Lord does not delay His promise. Keep in mind that the promise under consideration here is the promise of the coming of our Lord and Savior (2Pe 3:4). Peter is still addressing the idea of the false teachers that nothing has changed. He is assuring us that our God is longsuffering, but that we should never take this as a sign that He has not (or will not) do exactly as He has promised.
I believe there are a number of instances where God the Word was made manifest in the Old Testament. One that has always stood out in my mind was His appearing unto Joshua when Israel was preparing to take Jericho (Jos 5:13-15). He told Joshua on that occasion that He was now come as the captain of the host of the Lord. At the time of God’s appointing, Jesus was born of a virgin and began His earthly ministry. When He had done all the Father had sent Him to do in His earthly body, He was made obedient to death on the cross and satisfied God’s holy law. We were effectually redeemed from the law of sin and death and made conquerors over death and the grave in His resurrection. On the day of Pentecost, He came in the person of the Holy Spirit and endued His disciples with power from on high. Today, He blesses us with the experience of His coming when He reveals Himself in us by that same Holy Spirit.
Whatever aspect of His coming you wish to consider, God has not delayed the coming of Jesus Christ as some men would have you to believe. I realize that there is a final coming that has not yet taken place, but do not consider God slack because He has not brought our natural existence to an end. He has changed everything for us of like precious faith with the coming of His son into the world and made us witnesses of the same by the coming of His son into our hearts. While it is certainly not my intent to debate the end of the natural world, I do not believe that is what is under consideration in these verses of scripture. Peter has been diligently teaching about the judgment of God against those whom Jesus has redeemed who yet deny His power by their false teaching(2Pe 2:1).
God has not caused men to be willingly ignorant of His truth. Men have chosen to be willingly ignorant. God does not necessarily strike men down for this immediately, but His judgment is immediate. Jesus living in their hearts condemns them in their conscience. They do not come to ruin by God’s will for He would have all those that have been quickened by the Spirit to come to repentance (turn from their false teaching). Don’t think that I am setting forth here a God who is too weak to do His will. He is perfectly capable of forcing any of His creatures to obey Him, but the witness of the scripture is this is not His usual way. Otherwise, Israel would not have been captive and scattered so many times throughout the Old Testament. God, using the name Jezebel to represent false teachers, says He gave her “space to repent …, and she repented not (Rev 2:21).” Do not take God’s longsuffering as a delay in His righteous judgment. Note that this brings this into our day and He is not addressing the “world,” but instead this is directed to the church.
Of this we can all be sure; the day of the Lord will come. We have experienced the coming of the day of the Lord when His son is revealed in us. He comes when we least expect it and we are not prepared or able to withstand His coming. For some, He comes as He did to the man in the tombs. He clothes us and puts us in our right mind. We gladly sit at His feet and discover that we have friends who will listen to how great things He has done for us. For others, He comes as He did for that Jezebel in Revelation and those that committed adultery with her false teachings. Without repentance, there will be tribulation and death. Read closely, because all this was pronounced against the church at Thyatira. This is a judgment of God toward His people as a result of their works. Since it involves the work of man’s hands, it is not about an eternal judgment but rather a gospel judgment.
It is this same type of judgment that Peter is dealing with in the 10th verse of this writing. The Lord comes as a thief in the night. In His coming, the heavens (that which we have exalted ourselves in) pass away with a great noise. All that we have built up for ourselves, whether things in the world or our own conceits about how God ought to be worshiped, comes crashing down around us. All that we think we have ordered so well are destroyed in the consuming fire of God. The work that we have so carefully plotted out in our little world is destroyed. This is true for all false teaching.
The Jew’s manner of worship (their heaven) and all they had worked so hard to set in order (the elements of their world) came crashing down with the coming of the promise of Jesus Christ. By the same token, if our manner of worship becomes more important to us than Who we are supposed to be worshiping, we are in danger of the same judgment. If our desire is to hold onto the truth because we think it is going to gain us a foothold above other men, then we are practitioners of false teaching. If I think that I can worship God just because I know the truth, then I am following a false teaching. We cannot worship God without the Spirit of God. We cannot have fellowship with God without the presence of the Spirit of God. Our method and manner of worship is just an empty shell if we do not have the presence of the Holy Spirit. While the promise of Jesus has certainly been literally fulfilled, we do not have the experience (the eye witness testimony) of this unless we have the Holy Spirit.
May we know of a certainty, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, that God is not slack concerning His promise!