Summary: Jesus' return is imminent but He is patiently awaiting the fullness of those whom will be saved.
CONTINUING THE THOUGHT. Last week we spent our time together considering the reality of Jesus’ Second Coming and Power to Judge sin and sinners especially in light of the false teachers who were denying such among the Church that Peter was writing to. The false teachers denied Jesus’ Second Coming upon the basis of their disbelief in the Scriptures, the love of their own sin, and a misperception of the times and Peter refuted all their claims encouraging and exhorting the Christian to hold firm to and live in light of the reality of Jesus’ return. Another charge that these false teachers was bringing forth was, “If Jesus was going to return to receive His own and judge sin and sinners, then why hasn’t He come back? If He hasn’t come back by now it is very unlikely that He ever will.” These false teachers saw time pass and the increasingly depraved state of the world and figured that if Jesus hadn’t come to put an end to it all by now then surely He never will. Why in the world would He wait and all the while watch as things just get worse and worse.
GOD’S RELATIONSHIP TO TIME. 3:8-9a
The first error in their thinking was that they were trying to measure God’s faithfulness, or perceived lack thereof, to fulfill His promises by employing our experience of time and timing. They tried to view God within the confines of the human experience. We are confined to and conformed by time (seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, years, etc…) because we are finite people. God, however, is not confined to nor conformed by time but exists outside of time. Time may measure us but God measures time. God is not limited to the “ticking of the clock” and the “turning of the calendar” as we are. Therefore, to say that God is not faithful to keep His promises on the basis of how much time has transpired on earth is to try to confine Him to our relationship to time. He is above time. What can be done in 1000 years by us can be done in 1 day by God and what we want done in 1 day by God may take 1000 years as we measure it. Therefore, we do not consider His faithfulness to His promises on the basis of the passing of time. We consider His faithfulness to keep His promises on the basis of who He is—He who does not and can not lie.
WHY IS JESUS WAITING TO COME BACK? 3:9b-10
PATIENT LOVE. Peter does not simply deny the fact that according to our human reasoning it doesn’t make sense as to why Jesus has not parted the sky to come back and make all things right. Why is it that the Lord tarries? The answer is because He is FULL OF LOVE, GRACE, MERCY and PATIENCE. Peter makes it abundantly clear that the reason for the Lord’s delay is due to His love for His children. Jesus is sovereign over time and history and knows that there is a measure of time that the Father has determined and that measure is for the purpose of salvation. The Lord stands upon the threshold of time and space awaiting the command of the Father to return but in the meantime He stands at the threshold of time and space loving, longing for and celebration the celebration of His own. THERE IS A PLAN AND THAT PLAN INCLUDES THE SALVATION OF ALL WHO WILL AND THE LORD IS PATIENTLY WAITING FOR THE FULLNESS OF HIS OWN TO COME TO FRUITION IN SALVATION. So, while we may wonder why the Lord is waiting let it be known that He is waiting because of His loving patience for those who do not yet know Him, desiring all to be saved and none to perish. The Second Coming of Jesus is being delayed because of His patient and long-suffering love for people in desperate need of Him.