The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
II Peter 3:9
One of the issues I think about quite a bit, is what is getting addressed here in 2 Peter. We believe Jesus died, rose again after three days, then ascended to the father. We believe he is coming back. Soon.
But Jesus starting talking about how soon he was coming back almost 2,000 years ago.
So we live in the tension between God’s version of soon, our version of soon, and why he hasn’t come back yet.
And I love how Peter puts it here, “The Lord is not slow concerning his promise” granted this was written fairly soon after Jesus had ascended, so I wonder if Peter would still say that if he were here now?
I think he would, and this verse explained it then, it explains it now, and if another 10,000 years go by before Jesus returns, this verse will still stand as the really good reason why.
“…because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
At the heart of two versions of the Christian worldview is this question: Is the world fundamentally getting better? Or is it getting worse?
I used to think the latter, but I am now wholly convinced the former is true. If we take the New Testament and teachings of Jesus seriously, I think we have to say the world is fundamentally getting better as God’s Kingdom continues to advance. Sometimes in large scale things like the Jesus Movement which birthed thousands if not tens of thousands of churches. But sometimes the Kingdom advances slowly. Like a little leaven in a lump of dough, or like a mustard seed that grows slowly.
When Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom, I believe that Kingdom has continually advanced and is constantly defeating the powers of darkness in this world. And God is exceedingly patient watching as his children, who have been given the keys to the Kingdom, continually work towards shalom in the world. As it says in the Lord’s prayer, ‘Your Kingdom come…’
So back to Peter’s reason for why the promise of Jesus coming has yet to be fulfilled, simply put, there are more people who God wants to bring into his Kingdom – namely, all people!
So the question I ask myself is, do I want to see those people enter into the Kingdom as bad as God does? While I know in my flesh I don’t love people the way God does, when I’m being led by the Spirit, my heart should ache for those who do not yet know him, and I should stake my life and energy towards bringing the Kingdom to those people. In this way of living, I would actually make proper use of the time that God has given me. It would be a shame to approach the throne and have God say, ‘I gave you so much time. You were always waiting and wondering for Jesus to return, but you never worked for those around you that were still in need of salvation.’