2 Peter 3:5-7
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old…
I. I AM TO GIVE SOME ACCOUNT AND TO ASSIGN SOME REASONS OF GOD'S FORBEARANCE TO SINNERS.
1. That the delay bears no proportion either to the eternity of His own or to the future continuance of our being.
2. God never intended this world for the place of our final recompense, and therefore is the less concerned to interpose with frequency for the immediate punishment of the sinner.
3. We may presume it designed in much mercy to sinners that He does not catch at every advantage.
4. It is designed to lead us to repentance. There are critical junctures in religion, as well as in life and fortune.
II. THE LONG-SUFFERING OF GOD IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE HE WILL NEVER TAKE VENGEANCE. The reasons which account for His forbearance destroy that inference.
1. If the end of the world and the dissolution of all things be the vengeance expected, it was no way proper to raise so vast a fabric except it had been designed for some ages' continuance.
2. For if sin could never be committed without immediate vengeance closely pursuing it, there could be no proper foundation of reward to our obedience.
3. Whatever continuance the world may seem made for, yet the lives of particular men are short and uncertain.
III. THE DELAY OF HIS VENGEANCE CAN BE NO JUST REASON FOR OUR CONTINUANCE IN SIN. It does not lessen the danger; it gives no colour to the notion that God is an unconcerned spectator of wickedness. But now His present forbearance makes proof that He will hereafter pursue the wicked with His vengeance.
IV. HIS LONG-SUFFERING IS MUCH RATHER AN ARGUMENT TO US TO FORSAKE SIN, AND TO PROCEED HENCEFORWARD IN ALL HOLY OBEDIENCE.
1. It is so in point of gratitude, because we have seen that it is an effect of His mercy.
2. But if the motives of gratitude fail of persuading us, we should at least consider that our interest is very deeply concerned in this matter. For it is a very great aggravation to turn the means of grace into occasions of sin.
(N. Marshall, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: