The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9)
In order to get around the notion that God would want all to be saved, Calvinists suggest that the pronoun us in the phrase ”to us-ward” refers to the elect only, since Peter’s greeting at the beginning of his epistle is addressed to the saints. However, most letters in the New Testament are addressed to saints and it does not follow that we can therefore interpret pronouns in such a restrictive way. Moreover, if Peter would be speaking only of those already saved, why all the warnings and why does Peter express his hope for that they should come to the knowledge of the truth? If Calvinism is right, the elect are by definition those who have already come to the knowledge of true salvation. It is clear that Peter believes that they have already come to the knowledge of the truth and that they must still be aware in order to not be led away on wicked ways and fall from their steadfastness.
2 Cor. 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
When it comes to verses such as Rom 3:23 where it says that ”all have sinned”, then Calvinists believe it literally means every single human being (apart from Jesus), but when it comes to verses such as 2 Cor. 5:14-15, where we can read ”–that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again”, then Calvinists choose to interpret ”all” as the elect only, just like they do with 2 Pet. 3:9 and whichever other verse that suggests that God really does not want anyone to perish.
Ez. 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
Ez. 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
Peter tells us that some people are willfully ignorant of God’s coming judgment, and they are scoffers who walk after their own lusts – something that definitely would be against God’s will.
2 Pet. 3:5 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:
In v. 7 we can read that such people will perish when it is time for the judgment – due to their ungodliness (something against God’s will). Peter urges his readers to not be ignorant of such serious warnings, and he comments that some people twist the scriptures to their own destruction. (It does not seem they were chosen to be non-elect before the creation of the world, but they actually cause their own destruction just like the Bible says.)
2 Pet 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Note Paul’s statement about longsuffering in Romans 9:
Rom. 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
God is longsuffering with those who disbelieve, but some vessels are fitting themselves to destruction. Clay has a will of its own, but there is a proper place for clay that is eventually rendered totally useless and that is on the scrap heap. Clay can be marred in the potter’s hands (Jer. 18), and what potter wants his clay to be marred? If the potter would be the one causing his own clay to be destroyed, the word ”longsuffering” would be very much out-of-place. ”Longsuffering” rather indicates that the potter is very patient with the clay, and strongly desire for it to be useful in one way or the other. However, there are limits for how many attempts the potter can handle, and one day the clay will finally end up where it belongs – due to its own actions. It has caused its own destruction despite many chances to become something useful that could please his maker.
2 Tim. 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.21 If a man therefore PURGE HIMSELF FROM THESE, he shall be a vessel unto HONOUR, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Preachers might express themselves with the pronoun ”us” in their sermons before a group of Christians in a church, and still include a larger part of people other than those present in the church.
Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, IF we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.