Summary: God is holding back the establishment of His kingdom so that the multiplied billions may have a longer, & hopefully better, opportunity to hear the gospel, & come to repentance & faith in Jesus Christ.
2 PETER 3: 8-9 [Our Precious Faith Series]
GOD'S MERCIFUL WILL
After addressing the lost's mocking of God's Word and the Lord Jesus' seeming delay in returning to correct mankind in the previous verses (1--7), Peter goes on to speak about the restraint of the Lord in verses 8--9. God's is holding back the establishment of His kingdom so that the multiplied billions may have a longer, and hopefully better, opportunity to hear the gospel, and come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
There is no doubt concerning the certainty of the second Coming of Jesus Christ. Since God promised another intervention of His physical presence in human affairs, the Second Coming must take place. Therefore Peter gives us two factors which explain why God is delaying the intervention of His coming for as long as He likes. First, God completely transcends time so the Lord counts time differently than does man since time is of no consequence to Him. The second reason the Lord's return seems to be so long in coming is that God is giving time for as many people as possible to come to repentance so that they can be saved.
The day of the Lord is coming though. God always keeps His promises. He is always on time!
I. GOD'S TIME TABLE [For the Second Coming], 8.
II. GOD'S PATIENCE [with Man], 9a.
III. GOD'S WAITING for Repentance, 9b.
In verse 8 God's eternal perspective on history is contrasted with the short-term expectations of human beings. God does not count time in the same way that we do. "But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day."
Peter practices what he has been preaching. He has encouraged his readers to heed the Word of God which has come from the prophets and the apostles. In verse 8 he does just that by referring to the teaching of Psalm 90:4, "For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night." The psalmist has declared it and Peter believed it.
We who are called the beloved of God are to grab hold of this concept. There is one simple reality that the ungodly forget and that believers should never forget: time does not constrain to the one Who created time. His creation is confined to the continuing cycle of birth and death. However, this can never be true of the eternal God Who has no beginning and no ending. A hundred years, a thousand years, a thousand millenniums are all the same for the Creator of time and space.
So we are asked not to forget that "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years." People see time against time; but God sees time against eternity. In fact time only seems long because of man's finite perspective.
A man was taking it easy, lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. He was identifying shapes when he decided to talk to God. "God," he said, "HOW LONG is a million years?"
God answered, "In My frame of reference, it's about a minute."
The man asked, "God how much Is a million dollars?"
God answered, "To Me; it's a penny."
The man then asked, "God, can I have a penny?" God responded, "Sure! Just give Me a minute."
In 1896, H. G. WELLS published a book titled The Time Machine, an imaginative tale of a scientist who builds a machine that can transport someone through time. The time traveler is preoccupied with the future, not the past. Like many scientists, he believes "progress" will enable the human race to build. a better world. Yet in Wells' book, this science-fiction story does not have a happy ending.
The protagonist travels millions of years into the future. There the world has grown cold and dark. As a bleak snow falls, he sees the last remnants of life awaiting extinction. Thoroughly sickened by the twilight of life on our planet, the scientist returns to the time of his origin to report his anguish.
The biblical view of the future is very different. It tells us that God is Lord over time itself (v. 8). We can be optimistic about the future because God will replace our world with a new one. In that new heaven and new earth we will experience blessed fellowship with our Creator for eternity (Rev. 21:1-4). Even now, Jesus is preparing a place for those who love Him where "there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying" (Rev. 21:4). [Dennis Fisher. Our Daily Bread] Jesus is preparing a place for us and preparing us for that place.