2 Peter 3:8
But, beloved, 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.
In all likelihood this sublime statement was suggested by the language of the ninetieth psalm, "A thousand years in thy sight are as yesterday when it is past." It is a glorious conception of the Divine greatness which is in this passage brought before our minds; whilst at the same time it has a practical bearing of a most valuable character upon the conduct of human life.
I. THE GREAT TRUTH ASSERTED. Time is for man, not for God. We human beings have but a few years allotted to us as the period of earthly work; within the scant limits of those years we must do what we have power to do, or we must leave it for ever undone. This is not so with the Eternal He has the vast range of all human history in which to carry out his designs. The dispensations follow one another with no haste. The ages are the province within which God works.
II. THE APPLICATION OF THIS TRUTH TO IMPENITENT SINNERS. It cannot be otherwise than that those who defy God's authority should be affected by the deliberation with which the Almighty Ruler conducts his government.
1. Judgment deferred is made an excuse for perseverance in sin. If the Divine King were under the same restrictions as to time by which an earthly ruler is governed, the case would be otherwise. As it is, the withholding of retribution is misconceived. Yet judgment deferred is, in truth, not judgment reversed, but judgment delayed.
2. If the matter be regarded from the Divine side, another lesson comes to light. Judgment delayed is an opportunity for repentance. Long-suffering on God's part has this merciful significance. Time may teach when other instructors are disregarded; forbearance may be fruitful even when threatening is barren.
III. THE APPLICATION OF THIS TRUTH TO THE TRIED AND TEMPTED PEOPLE OF GOD. Sometimes deliverance deferred is made a ground for fear that deliverance may never come. But the Christian is appointed to learn that deliverance deferred is only deliverance delayed. The day of disappointment, of persecution, of seeming desertion, may appear to the afflicted like a year; the year may appear to be an age. But if the matter be regarded from the Divine side - as our text invites us to regard it - what a change comes over it! The distinction between a longer and a shorter period now almost vanishes. "What of the night? The morning cometh; and also the night." The rescue is near; the daybreak has already begun. Interposition is to be measured, not by years or by centuries, but by Divine purposes and promises.
APPLICATION. These considerations should check the arrogance of scoffers and unbelievers; and should sustain the faith, the courage, and the hope of the Church militant. - J.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: But, beloved, 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.