Carly Simon & the apostle Peter

Have you ever heard that song by Carly Simon called, “You’re So Vain?” It has a lyric in the chorus that says, “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.” Whether or not you have heard the song, we can still see that Carly is being a little inconsistent here. The inconsistency lies within her trying to convince this person that the song is not about them. If we observe context clues such as you’re, you, etc. we can see that the song IS, in fact, about this person. Not only is the chorus devoted to this person, but so is the entire song. So, no matter how hard Carly may try to be convincing, we can not be fooled.

“And… what does this have to do with Peter?” you may be asking.

2 Peter 3:9 is a text used by many-a-professing Christian to support a view that states that God is holding Himself back from returning because He is waiting for people to come to repentance. When stated generally in this way, I don’t have any disagreements. First, let’s look at the verse, that we might make sense of it:

“The Lord is not slow concerning His promise,as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because He does not wishfor anyto perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NET)

Peter is very basically saying what was already stated above, “God is holding Himself back from returning because He is waiting for people to come to repentance.” But, an issue arises. Many professing Christians will say that the “any” that God wishes would not perish (“He does not wish for any to perish) pertains to the entirety of humanity. Is this true? Let’s look for any context clues just as we did with Carly Simon’s song. I will underline them and mark them in red.

“The Lord is not slow concerning His promise,as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because He does not wishfor anyto perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NET)

Peter’s words are addressed to “you” –  He says that the Lord is patient toward this “you,” and that God does not wish that any would perish. But who is this you?” Let’s go to the very beginning of 2 Peter, in chapter 1, and see who he is addressing his letter to.

“From SimeonPeter,a slaveand apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our Godand Savior,Jesus Christ, have been granteda faith just as preciousas ours. May grace and peace be lavished on youas you growin the rich knowledgeof God and of Jesus our Lord! 2 Peter 1:1-2 (NET)

So, what can we gather concerning those receiving this letter?

1) These have been granted a faith as precious as ours (Peter and the apostles)
2) These have grown in the rich knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord

Throughout Peter’s letter he contrasts you” (Christians) with “they” (non-Christians). “They” are described as the scoffers, bold, arrogant, slanderous, adulterous, boastful, empty mouthed, reserved for darkness, those who will perish, etc.

Now, it is certainly a possibility that not each and every person to whom Peter was writing was a true Christian, as there were and still are false converts. But, it’s safe to say that Peter believed that he was writing to fellow believers, and he spoke to them accordingly. So, now that we know who Peter is speaking to, let’s look at 2 Peter 3:9 this way:

“The Lord is not slow concerning His promise,as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward believers, because He does not wishfor anyto perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NET)

To be more specific: God has not returned because He has His sheep, He knows them by name, and they all need to come to repentance. And all of them will. When reading the 18th chapter of the gospel of Matthew, it becomes apparent that Peter (in his 2 letter) only echoes what Christ has already said about the lost sheep:

“What do you think? If someoneowns a hundredsheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth,he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost.” Matthew 18:12-14 (NET)

And notice what Christ says in John:

“Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. Now this is the will of the one who sent me – that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all upat the last day.” John 6:37-39 (NET)

What can we gather from these verses?

1) The Father is not willing that any of the sheep be lost (Matthew 18)
2) Christ will never send away those the Father gives Him (John 6:37)
3) Christ came to do the Father’s will (John 6:38)
4) The Father’s will is that Christ not lose any of those He has given Christ (John 6:39)

So, in conclusion – (returning to 2 Peter 3:9) no matter how many may try to convince us that this Scripture pertains to the whole world, we can see that the evidence actually points in the other direction. If God is waiting for everyone everywhere not to perish, but to come to repentance, He will be waiting forever. And doesn’t He know the future? Doesn’t He know that they won’t?


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8 thoughts on “Carly Simon & the apostle Peter”

  1. “To be more specific: God has not returned because He has His sheep, He knows them by name, and they all need to come to repentance. And all of them will.”

    AMEN! He is not willing that His elect should perish 🙂 To think that we, foul and wicked, would be the objects of His saving grace, endless love, chosen to delight in Him, to walk with Him, and to reflect the beauty of His holiness. I only can pray that the Arminians I know would come to see that the doctrines of grace do not lessen the Love of God, but only amplify it beyond comprehension.

    So great that the apostle could only say in response:

    14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[f] 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
    20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

    -Ephesians 3:14-21

    SOLA Gratia.

    Amen.

    -h.

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    1. Yeah, Also, I would like to say. The book of Genesis, all through the Prophets and ‘The Writings’, to continue, through the Gospels, and the epistles, and the rest of the bible dominantly illuminates the idea that through a Covenant promise Jesus Christ was born. Furthermore, in John 17, Jesus literally prays to God for those whom he Has called.

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  2. are the believers in danger of perishing?why whould god be waiting for his elect to come to repentence if he he just has to zap them with his irrisistable grace?in view of the preceding verses it seem god is waiting for the scoffers (1 pet.3;3 ) and ungodly men (vs.7) to repent.

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    1. It sounds like you have an issue with God doing things the way He wants. You don’t escape that type of question either. Why would God be waiting for people He knows will never believe? Peter mentions scoffers scoffing about the Lord’s coming. No where does the Scripture assert that He is waiting for them.

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