Divine Outlook#12. “Not wishing for any to perish” (2 Peter 3:9).

Divine Outlook#12. “Not wishing for any to perish” (2 Peter 3:9).

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book, The Gulag Archipelago, is not for the fainthearted. Solzhenitsyn retells his own experience, and the experiences of many others, of the horrific treatment of political prisoners in Starlin’s Soviet Union. Millions of people were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered. However, Solzhenitsyn tried to investigate his own heart to discover anything that might have contributed to the spirit of cruelty that swept the USSR.

It’s a rare man who tries to see the enemy within.

But it is a rarer man still who wants his enemies to thrive. And it is as enemies of righteousness that Jesus found you and me, and offered us mercy, pardon, and an abundant life in the church.

Jesus is not shy to point out that many of us are quick to forget our former state of lostness. In his Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21-35), Jesus presents a servant, though forgiven an impossible debt, mercilessly extracting a small debt from a fellow servant.

Forcing the question: ‘Why do we so easily kid ourselves that God will continue pouring his rich mercies upon us while we continue to pour contempt upon those who are still as lost as we used to be?’

It is the man who remembers the mercy and grace he found in his time of desperate spiritual need who will wish God’s love upon his enemy.

Only God can fill you with that kind of compassion. That is a love of a humble and contrite heart; an attitude that looks at the sinner and says, “There but for the grace of God, go I!”

God wants no one to go to eternal damnation. That is why he sent Jesus to save us from our sins. He mercifully calls all to repentance:

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

John Staiger

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