Saturday, 29 February 2020
…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, 2 Peter 3:15
Here Peter reaches back to verse 9 where he stated that the Lord is not slack concerning His promise. Rather, it is His will that all come to repentance. With that in mind, he expands on that thought by saying, “and consider that the longsuffering of the Lord is salvation.” In other words, the “come to repentance,” means “salvation.” The people have a change of mind about the Lord, and they go from actively rejecting Him to seeking Him out.
The word “repentance” simply means, “to change one’s mind or purpose.” Therefore, those who have heard the message of Christ, and who have subsequently rejected it, will hopefully repent (change their mind) about their rejection and turn to Him for salvation. This is the longsuffering of the Lord. He awaits those who are at enmity with Him to have a change of heart.
Scholars debate (unnecessarily) over the issue of who is being spoken of here by the term “Lord.” Is it “God,” or is it “Jesus?” The debate is unnecessary. Jesus is God. The members of the Godhead are united in purpose. It is not as if the Father is impatient, while the Son and the Holy Spirit are patient. All have the same purpose and intent concerning such things.
Peter next says, “as also our beloved brother Paul.” This is speaking of the apostle Paul, the author of the thirteen epistles which bear his name, and which were written to the Gentile churches and/or to individual Gentiles. Of Paul, Peter next says, “according to the wisdom given to him.”
In other words, Paul’s wisdom is that of the inspiration of his words by the Holy Spirit, a process which Peter has already explained in this epistle –
“for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21
Peter is ensuring his audience that what Paul has said is in accord with both what he is writing, and that it is inspired by God. This will be seen further in the next verse. Peter finishes the verse with these words concerning the wisdom that Paul, “has written to you.”
Peter’s audience is “the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” as noted in 1 Peter 1:1. That is confirmed by 2 Peter 3:1 which says, “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle.” However, as was just noted by Peter, Paul had written this Hebrew audience a letter which is inspired by God. This is a sure and reliable note that Paul is the author of the book of Hebrews. Along with many other internal evidences of the epistle, this is certain.
In understanding that Paul is that author, it gives a sure and reliable testimony to the fact that Peter and Paul were in complete agreement concerning both the gospel of Christ, and of the unity of the one gospel to provide salvation for both Jew and Gentile. The only difference is the main audience of their ministry, not the content of the message conveyed.
Though the word Peter uses here, and which is translated as “longsuffering,” is used only once in the epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 6:12), the thought of God’s patience with the Hebrew people is conveyed again and again. It is a principle precept found in the epistle, and Peter conveys that to his reader now.
Life application: Despite having a bit of a controversy early on which is described in Galatians 2, Peter and Paul mended their dispute and moved on. As you can see in this verse, Peter holds Paul in high esteem, calling him a “beloved brother.” He also acknowledges the “wisdom given to him.”
Peter’s words about the “longsuffering of the Lord” permeate Paul’s epistles. It is a point that these men of God faithfully proclaimed, but it is not a point which should lead a person to delay a choice for Christ. There is a time when the age will come to an end. It is a time which is unknown to all but God. For now, Paul’s words of 2 Corinthians should be taken to heart –
“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2
God’s goodness and His great patience are manifest in each of us when we finally turn to Him and call on Jesus as Lord. There is a day, however, when this longsuffering will come to an end. This isn’t because God has given up on us, but because we have finally given up on Him to such an extent that no remedy is possible. This, combined with the completion of His temple, built with the living stones which are his people, will bring an end to the current age. This end is the destruction anticipated by Peter in Chapter 3 of this epistle.
Thank You, O God, for Your longsuffering. Were You to mete out what we deserve, we would have been swept away eons ago. But because of Your faithfulness and patience, we are granted life unto salvation through Jesus. Now Lord, grant us the ability to be longsuffering as we patiently explain His work to others who don’t see their own great need. May their eyes be opened to the truth of Jesus and the brevity of life. Amen.