What About Those Arminian Verses? Pt. 4

To finish this little exegetical series, we’ll be looking at 2 Peter 3:9 this week.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promises as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

This passage is similar in some ways to the passage in 1 Timothy, and so we’ll be touching on some of the same topics. The assertion is that there is something stopping God’s desire that everyone be saved, and that must be our free will, because otherwise patience wouldn’t be needed.

While we all agree that if God desires all to be saved, then there must be something higher than or more important than that will, since all are not saved, we disagree on what that thing is. I will again link to John Piper discussing the two wills of God, which is how reformed people have usually understood this idea. The article can be found here.

I think the idea that the word patience implies that God is waiting for us to exercise our free will doesn’t really make sense of the passage, if you look at the context. Back in verse 4, we see that the false teachers bring an accusation that since everything has been the same since they can remember, therefore Jesus is not coming back. Peter then spends the next several verses discussing why that accusation is wrong, including the idea that God is now slow to fulfill His promises as some might count slowness. Instead of being slow, Peter argues, the delay should be attributed to the fact that God is patient.

In order for the argument to stick, the Arminian would have to prove that this passage is addressing free will, and appealing to the word patience does not do the trick.

These have been four of the common verses appealed to when the topic of Calvinism comes up. Hopefully this can be a launching point for your own study, as it is in no way exhaustive, and that it will be helpful to you and fruitful in your conversations. An additional resource for three of these verses can be found here.

– Jesse