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God's Heart for the Lost

God's Heart for the Lost

Words of Faith 3-18-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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2 Peter 3

    [8] But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. [9] The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

 

       The scoffers had argued that the Lord was slow in returning and therefore was not coming back at all.  But Peter argued that we cannot measure such matters from an earthly perspective.  He quoted Psalm 90:4: "For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in night."  The scoffers had overlooked God's time perspective. 

       Peter urged the believers not to forget this scripture, that is, don't fall into the trap of deliberate forgetfulness as the scoffers had done.  This was an act of the flesh.  He urged them to beware lest the propaganda of the scoffers distorts their thinking.

        But there was more to all of this than just a difference in perspective.  God's "delay" is actually gracious. It is not caused by inability or indifference. The scoffers argued that God was slow to keep his promise of the new age, and evidently some Christians were influenced by this-- "as some understand slowness.”  God's time plan is influenced by His patience, an attribute prominent in Scripture.

        In Romans 9:22, Paul says that God "bore with great patience the objects of his wrath." Here God's patience is directed to us.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

       But with whom is God patient and whom does He desire to come to repentance? This verse has been a battleground between some Arminian and some Calvinistic interpreters. 

       Arminians have argued that this verse proves God's open desire to save all who will be saved and choose to respond to the gracious offer of salvation.

       Calvinists have argued, "It is not God's will that every man without exception should repent... Peter, therefore, is saying simply that Christ will not return until every one of the elect has come to repentance."  But this view is obviously incompatible with premillennialism, the predominant evangelical view, whose adherents normally teach that some will be saved during the millennial period following Christ's return.

        Calvin's own perspective on this verse showed his moderation and wisdom: "Not willing that any should perish. So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that he would have them all to be saved, and is of his own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost.”  Calvin saw the desired will of God as different from His decreed will.   

        We won't solve that one here.  But whatever the case, Peter was clear that the "slowness" of the Lord should be understood as an expression of His patient love, which extends the time available for us to reach out to the lost.  

         If Peter discerned that his generation was living on borrowed time extended by the generous patience of the Lord, what should we conclude about our own time in which we live? Or maybe a better question to ask is simply this-- If the heart of the Lord is that none should perish, but everyone might come to repentance, do I have the heart of the Lord for my world in my time?  Is there anyone that the Lord would have me to share with this day or week or during this year, knowing that we all are living on borrowed time?

 

        Father God, give me Your heart for the lost.  Open my eyes to those You are calling to Yourself.  Help me to reach out and invite those You are saving so that they might come into Your grace.  Give me ears to hear the needs of those around me.  Give me faith so as not to scoff.  In Jesus' Name.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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