Problem

Is God willing that ALL should be saved?

2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Matthew 13:15 - For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

2 Peter states that God wants all to be saved
But Jesus seems to be saying something to the contrary in Matthew 13:15.


Solution

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This is one of those "contradictions" that has intrigued me personally. However, the solution is rather simple and obvious: the key is to know the definition of the words that the Lord writes in these two verses, and to know how the Bible is rightly divided. (Reading the passages slowly and carefully helps, too.)

2 Peter 3:9 says that God is not slack concerning HIS promise, and it says that the Lord is not WILLING that any should perish. What unlocks this verse is knowing that salvation is a free GIFT, and like all gifts, this one must also be accepted by the receiver. If the gift of salvation is not accepted, then the reward of salvation is not received: you die with no payment for your sins, and you go to Hell.

In other words, God is not slack on His part of the deal, and God is not willing that you reject him, but you do have that choice to make, and only YOU can make that choice for yourself.

God has given you free will, and thus, free reign over your future. If the Lord is not "the Lord" of your soul, then you have every right to die in your sin - it's your right as a free agent of conscience.

This condition of Life doesn't violate the Biblical standard set forth in 2 Peter 3:9. God has 'constructed the basis' for salvation, but in the end, it is a gift that can be accepted or rejected. The bottom line is that God is not willing that anyone perish, but some inevitably do, by their own choice to reject the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

This brings up Matthew 13:15, which should be clearer now. Remember: at the time of the verse, Jesus Christ had not went to the cross yet, so when He talks about people in this verse, He is not dispensing doctrine, nor is He talking about Christians. In fact, Jesus even says it in this manner: "... THIS people's", meaning obviously the people there, where He was talking. Jesus was NOT talking about sinners in general, nor was He talking about the born-again believer. (Evidently, He was speaking of the Jews, specifically the Jews present at the time.)

Therefore, there is no contradiction here, because the two verses simply do not belong together when asking the question: "is everyone going to be saved?" The face-value answer is that everyone CAN be saved, everyone SHOULD be saved ... but, only some WILL CHOOSE to be saved.

Will you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour today? Romans 10:13

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Solution

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Peter's meaning of "all" I believe is "all without distinction" (Jew, Greek, male, female, rich, poor, etc), NOT "all without exception." If God wanted "all without exception" to be saved then all would be saved. God's will is efficacious; it is not dependent upon human activity. If God wills it to rain tomorrow, all your prayers for a dry day will be answered, "Sorry."

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