What Does God Mean By “…not willing that any should perish…”
A Biblical Response to the “Perish” Myth
2 Peter 3:9 states “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to US_WARD, not willing that any [of the US-WARD] should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
I. WE MUST IDENTIFY: THE US-WARD (in keeping with basic grammar seeing that the pronoun must follow the noun). To rightly do so, first:
1. Starting with 2 Peter 1:1, we see the epistle is written “TO THEM that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:”
2. Note in 2 Peter 3:1 [same epistle] that the Peter now calls the “them that have obtained like precious faith with us…” THE BELOVED (group one). We read, “This second epistle, BELOVED, I now WRITE unto YOU…”
3. Now, follow the logic: 2 Peter 3:1-2 is to (and about) the BELOVED, i.e. group one, the true believers.
4. 2 Peter 3:3-7 introduces another group, group two, the SCOFFERS. The scoffers are completely distinguished from the beloved,
5. In 2 Peter 3:8 Peter goes back to the BELOVED (group one); he leaves off discussing the SCOFFERS (group two) and says “But, BELOVED (group one), be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
6. In 2 Peter 3:9, THE VERY NEXT VERSE, having clearly switch back to THE BELOVED (group one) in verse 8, we HAVE TO KNOW that the US-WARD is not talking about (a) the scoffers (group two), let alone all mankind, but THE BELOVED (group one).
7. So when we read in 2 Peter 3:9 (same verse)…
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise [PROMISE TO WHO? TO THE SCOFFERS? NO! TO THE BELOVED], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to US-WARD [THE US-WARD BEING THE SCOFFERS? OR ALL MANKIND? NO WAY! THE US-WARD BEING THE *BELOVED*], not willing that ANY should perish, but that all should come to repentance”
…The ANY [grammatically and contextually speaking] HAS TO BE referencing the BELOVED, the US-WARD, those (as we read in 2 Peter 1:1) “that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” — because the PRONOUN has to match the associated NOUN.
Thus, the passage pertains to the preserving and perseverance of the saints! It has nothing to do with some blanket will or desire to see the reprobate (those whom God calls swine, dogs, wolves, goats, tares, empty wells, clouds without water, etc.) saved (or at least not to see them perish). We see this clearly in:
2 Peter 3:15: “And account [that] THE LONGSUFFERING OF OUR LORD [IS] SALVATION; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you…”
Remember, v9 stated that God is “…is longsuffering to US-WARD, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to REPENTANCE.” The coming to repentance in verse 9 is the same as the “our salvation” spoken of in v15… that can only be for the believers, the beloved, the us-ward, and not the scoffers, let alone all of mankind.
Grammar and context explain everything if you have eyes to see.