That "All" Should Come to Repentance?

Posted on November 29, 2010

John Samson from Effectual Grace addressed two passages of Scripture recently where many get hung up due to not understanding the proper context. These passages are often used to argue against the Doctrines of Grace, but understood correctly, they give strong credence to these biblical truths.

The first passage of Scripture is found in 2 Peter 3:9:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

John’s argument for this text can be found here: Understanding 2 Peter 3:9

The second difficult passage is from 1 Timothy 2:4:

who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

John’s argument for this Scripture can be found here: Understanding 1 Timothy 2:4

As John explains,

We can go for many years without asking questions about a text of Scripture because we assume we have already understood it. This is the very hallmark of tradition. Blind to our own assumptions we see no need to look at the text objectively and see if our understanding of the text can be verified by the text itself. However, if we take a deep breath and summon up the courage to ask the simple question, “what does the context tell us about the use of the word “all” here?”, I believe we will come away with the correct interpretation. Actually, it is absolutely vital we do this because context tells us how a word is being used.

Before reading these articles, I encourage you to check any preconceived notions or traditions at the door and ask God to give you a fresh pair of eyes to read these passages in context. Though I trusted God’s sovereignty in salvation, I had not yet fully addressed these passages to gain better understanding in how they are reconciled with sovereign election. In reading John’s two articles, the light bulb has come on for me and I can now understand them in their proper contexts.

If you haven’t been following Effectual Grace, which has only been online for about a month, now is a great time to start. John’s succinct articles provide wonderful insight into some of the most difficult passages of Scripture, especially as they relate to the sovereignty of God and what we know as the Doctrines of Grace.

May you continue to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.