II. Peter 3:8
Let us look at the Divine time-measures first of all. (v.8) contains the second answer to the skeptical argument. Time is the condition of man’s thought and action,
But not of God’s. His thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor His ways as our ways according to to (Isa.55:8,9) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.:
What seems delay to us is none to Him. The figurative expression of this text has been much misrepresented and misused. It is when it is treated as a distinct statement, and made the basis of minute calculations “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” (Ja.5:7).
The whole conception of a Millennium rests on a figurative expression. When it is said that ” one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” it is simply meant to assert that God’s prophecies and promises must never be tested by human time-measures (Gen.18:14) “Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”
If He says a thing will happen to-day we must always keep in mind that it is His “to-day,” not ours; and that His to-day may cover even what we should call a ” thousand years.” “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Rom.11:25).
As an argument against the scoffer this is effective enough. The force of his scoffer” is broken when he is compelled to reckon the fulfilment of promises by God’s time measures. “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mk.13:4,32).
Note the patience of Divine delay. It needs to be clearly seen that, since God must always keep moral ends in view. He can never make an unconditional promise. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” (II.Thess.2:7).
The promise is a moral force. If that promise fulfils its end the promise can be made good at once.
If that force is in any way hindered, the fulfilment must be left over until the moral force has duly affected its mission (Lk.21:28) “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Mt.24:44).
The Divine patience is seen in being willing even to be misunderstood and misrepresented, rather than to cease exerting the graciously redeeming moral force. “And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (II.Pt.3:4).
There is no sublimer revelation of God than that which comes to us in the Divine delayings.
He can wait and bear, in view of the ends of His infinite love for man “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Gal.4:4.
He is “not slack concerning His promise.” We never may think that He is indifferent—that He has forgotten to be gracious. That never can explain the Divine action.
We may always find long-suffering in patience. He is not willing that any should perish “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.” (v.9).
He stretches opportunity of repentance to its utmost limit. He gives warning after warning, until the utter hopelessness of any further warning is made quite plain, and the cup of sin is quite full. “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Gen.6:13).
Let us note the certain ending of times of Divine delay. But the day of the Lord will come. If judgment be threatened as a flood, the flood will come, unless men repent.
A hundred and twenty years may pass, and men may grow bold in their impious self-security; they may laugh away all fears as they enjoy their sunny days; but the flood will come.
The Flood came. God’s word never returns to Him void.” It will certainly be the same in regard to the promise of Christ’s coming, whether that be viewed as the vindication of the saints, or as judgment on their persecutors “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa.55:11).
Divine delay in no sense indicates that the Divine purpose is abandoned. Let nobody for one moment think that Christ will not come. ” The day of the Lord will come.” And if the scoffer persists in scoffing, let him remember that the sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar; there was every prospect of another glorious summer day ; but that day the fire of God fell. As Certain as death is, judgment is coming “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.” (Gen.19:24,28).
The certainty of Divine judgment is a present blessing. It’s a constant and a gracious reminder of our need of virtues. This is its proper influence upon us. It makes us say, ” What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”
By the earnestness of our endeavours in cultivating the godly life, and growing in grace, we should be “ looking for, and hasting unto the coining of the day of God.” (II.Pt 3:12).
Not “looking for ” in any sense of idly watching at a window; but looking for, as Christ taught us, the good servant looks for the return of his Master, by all devoted obedience, all earnest activities, all careful preparations, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Lk.21:28).
Christ is coming, then let us be diligent, that we may be found of Him in peace “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Heb.12:13).