“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering 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.” — 2 Peter 3:9-10
Peter, by inspiration, penned those words so that man could see that God loves man and that God’s desire is that all men would be saved. But God leaves the choice up to man whether to accept or reject his terms.
God has shown his love and concern for man by the things he has done. He has given the ultimate sacrifice — Jesus to die for all men (John 3:16). He has given an instruction manual to be followed — the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And he has given man time to obey (2 Corinthians 6:2). When man sinned in the Garden of Eden, God justly could have destroyed man, but instead devised a way for man to be justified in his sight again.
The story of how man’s redemption was to occur is found in the pages of God’s word. The coming of a savior was promised to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), and the story of him and his descendants leads us to the time of Christ.
The account takes us through two periods of captivity for God’s people. We read of the direction God gave to his people, how they many times failed to follow his word and how they suffered for their disobedience. It also is seen that God blessed them when they followed him and even delivered them from enemies as long as they followed his commands. God kept his promises to man.
God has prepared the way for man, who should be thankful and simply obey God. But many fail to do so. There are those who feel they have no need for God and fail to realize that without God, they could not have life. “But the heavens and the Earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7).
It is assumed by some that just because things always have been, they always will be. This is a false idea. Peter also talked about this: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 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. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the Earth standing out of the water and in the water. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the Earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:3-7).
Others seem to think that the way God has prepared needs to be changed, so they seek to add a few things to what God has said. Or they think God has asked for too much, so they want to leave off part of it. In other words, they want to have things their way.
This is not a new thought of man. The account of Naaman in 2 Kings 5 shows men always have had this problem of thinking they know better than God. This idea will cost countless millions their souls. Can we not learn from Hebrew history that this will not work? God has prepared the way and made salvation accessible for all men on the same terms. If man will simply study and obey God’s commands, he can be saved.
Why not obey God as he desires, since he prepared the way?