“The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
In my early days as a Christian, I was taught to believe that Jesus was “coming soon”. That was 45 years ago! George Jeffreys, the founder of our Elim Movement, stood firmly on the truth of the Second Coming of Christ as part of his Foursquare Gospel message: Jesus Christ, Saviour, Healer, Baptiser in the Holy Spirit, and Soon Coming King. So the Pentecostal emphasis on the near return of the Lord goes back to our very beginning.
For more than 100 years, Elim has been waiting for Jesus to come back, and we are still waiting. In fact, for over 2,000 years gospel churches have been waiting. But Jesus hasn’t come back yet. Why?
2 Peter 3:9 gives us, at least, one major reason. God doesn’t want anyone to perish. Every day that goes by, is another opportunity for people to respond to his love and to turn back to him. It’s not that God is slow in fulfilling his promise. It’s just that, for now, he’s extending the opportunity for people to come know him.
God’s love for a world that doesn’t know him is unfathomable. Think what it cost the Father to send his only Son into the world, so that whoever believes should not perish and be separated from him forever, but have eternal life.
That same love is operating with respect to the Second Coming. It will happen. Jesus is coming back and any apparent delay is in some significant measure due to his love. For love to be love there must be an opportunity for a free response. God is seeking the lost, drawing them by his love. But it cannot be forced upon anybody. We must be willing to choose his love.
As God’s children, we share in his passion for lost humanity. That’s why we try not to pass on any opportunity to share him, and to demonstrate his love to others. God doesn’t want anyone to perish and neither do we. God extends his appeal through us and we are part of his great plan that will culminate in the glorious Return of the Lord Jesus.