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WHAT ABOUT II PETER 3:9?
By Wayne Camp
2 Peter 3:9 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.
Often when one hears a sermon on the doctrine of election for the first time, he will ask, "But, what about II Peter 3:9?
The objector mistakenly thinks that all the scriptures on election are answered and silenced by this verse. It is both a popular and difficult verse when not interpreted in the light of its context. It is difficult for many to accept the biblical fact that "God hath from the beginning chosen" some "to salvation" (II Thes. 2:13). They find it impossible to accept this verse and harmonize it with II Peter 3:9.
The Bible does harmonize and II Peter 3:9 does harmonize with II Thessalonians 2:13; Eph. 1:4, 5; Jn. 6:37 and many others which set forth the doctrine of sovereign election. Scripture must be harmonized. And, it is a perversion of the holy word of God to array one scripture against another in an effort to prove or deny any doctrine. I was once debating a fellow and he gave some scripture that he thought refuted a scriptural argument that I had set forth. He jubilantly said, "There, my scripture contradicts your scripture." Scripture does not contradict scripture. It is a severely prejudiced mind that thinks that way. Such reasoning is nothing less than wresting the scriptures.
I call upon you, dear reader, to join me in this search for harmony in the word of God. This calls for approaching this verse with as little prejudice as is possible. To harmonize these supposed contradictions requires prayer, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and a sincere desire to learn their true meaning without perversion of any portion of God's infallible word.
PROBLEM CENTERS UPON "ALL"
The problem in II Peter 3:9 centers upon the words, all, any, us, and willing. Specifically, it centers on the word all. Therefore, if we are to understand the verse we must understand the word as it is used in scripture.
A STUDY OF THE WORD ALL
The Greek word that is translated "all" in the text is PAS (pas). Thayer, the renowned lexicographer, says that the word means "all of a particular group" or "a great number." The context of a word, such as the one under consideration, will determine its scope.
Consider the word all as it is used in Acts 1:1. Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Luke declares that in the former treatise which he had written (The book of Luke) he had written "of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach." Now, did Bro. Luke mean that in his account of the ministry of Christ he mentioned everything that Jesus began to do and to teach? Did he mean to indicate that not one thing had been done or taught by the Lord Jesus Christ that he did not mention? If one interprets the all of Luke 1:1 as many insist we interpret the all of II Pet. 3:9, we must conclude that Luke touches all, every last thing without exception, that Jesus began to do and to teach.
If all means every thing without exception in Acts 1:1 we must wonder why Luke never mentioned so many things mentioned by other writers. For instance, Luke never makes mention of the first miracle of Jesus which John relates in chapter two of his book. No one will doubt the importance of this first miracle. "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory" (Jn. 2:11). Though Luke declared he wrote of all that Jesus began to do and to teach, he makes absolutely no mention of this first miracle of Jesus.
Shortly after this miracle, Jesus attended the first Passover which he attended during his personal ministry (Jn. 2:13-25). This important event is not mentioned by Dr. Luke. As a matter of fact, Luke does not mention the second Passover which Jesus attended during his personal ministry (Jn. 5:1). Only the third Passover is mentioned by Luke. This is the one associated with Christís crucifixion.
All must surely agree that the discourse with Nicodemus is a very important event in the ministry of Christ. From that discourse we get the statement setting forth the absolute necessity of one being born of God. "Ye must be born again." And, my dear readers, it may come as a shock, but it was in that discourse that Jn. 3:16, that favorite of all favorite verses from holy writ, was uttered. Yet, Luke is totally silent on this event, this doctrinal teaching of Jesus. He makes no mention whatever of this vitally important matter even though he said he wrote of "all" that Jesus "began both to do and to teach." How do those of you who insist that all in II Pet. 3:9 must include every person in the world, without exception, explain Luke's statement in Acts 1:1 where he used the identical word as that in II Pet. 3:9?
But, that is not all. Did you know that Luke makes no mention of the healing of the nobleman's son (Jn. 4:46-54), the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman (Jn. 4:1-45), the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda (Jn. 5:2-9), Jesus walking on the sea, and Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (Jn. 11)? Did Luke lie when he declared his first treatise was an account of ALL that Jesus began both to do and to teach? Did he mean to imply that only his account of the ministry of Jesus was accurate and John added some things to make it look better for Jesus? How could he possibly have meant every last thing when John wrote, "There are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written EVERY ONE, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written" (Jn. 21:25).oughho
Luke used the word all to mean "a great number." He did tell a great number of things which Jesus "began both to do and to teach" but had he written "every one" even the world itself could not contain the books that Luke should have written. It is clear that Luke and the Holy Spirit who inspired him to write Acts 1:1 did not intend that their readers take all to mean "every last thing" or "the totality" of "all that Jesus began to do and to teach."
Let us also look at the use of the word all as it is used in Matthew 3:5-6. "Then went out to him Jerusalem, and ALL Judea, and ALL the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." Does all Judea mean every last inhabitant in Judea was baptized of John in the Jordan River? Does all the region round about Jordan mean that the TOTALITY of those residing in the region round about Jordan were baptized of John in Jordan? Mark says, "They of Jerusalem . . . were all baptized of him in the river Jordan" (Mk. 1:5). Of course, Jerusalem is part of Judea so all Jerusalem would be included in all Judea. Do Matthew, Mark, and the Holy Spirit intend that we believe that every last man, woman, boy, girl, and suckling infant went out to John, confessed their sins, and were baptized of him in the river Jordan? Was John a Pedo-baptist, a baby baptizer? How could the infants confess their sin? What a case the baby baptizers could make on this verse with those who insist that all must mean every last individual, the whole, entire population of that area, without exception.
Dr. Albert Barnes commented on these expressions. "All Judea. Many people from Judea. It does not mean that literally all the people went, but that great multitudes went" (Barnes Notes, Matthew & Mark, 1964, p. 25). Of the expressions all Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, John Gill wrote that this means "a very large number of them; a great number of people from all parts of the country. All is here put for many" (Gill's Commentary, Vol. 5, 1980, p. 17).
The one who insists that all in Scripture means "totality" with none left out must accept the baptism of infants. Or, he could make the preposterously absurd argument that there were no babies in all that country. May the Lord deliver us from such nonsensical foolishness! I pray thee have me excused.
This glaring absurdity is further revealed in the very next verses when John refused baptism to "many of the Pharisees and Saducees" from that same area. All in Matt. 3:5-6 obviously must be interpreted "a great number," or "many." It would be the height of absurdity to interpret it to mean every last person with no exceptions.
Consider the promise of God given in Joel 2:28-29 and fulfilled in Acts 2. In verse 17 of Acts 2 Luke records Peter's quotation of God's promise thusly, "I will pour out my Spirit upon ALL FLESH." Did God mean the totality of all flesh? Did he mean the flesh of men, the flesh of fishes, the flesh of fowls, and the flesh of beasts (I Cor. 15:39)? Did he mean every last woman, boy, and girl? Did he mean every last billy goat, baboon, buzzard, and bass? The unbelieving world cannot receive the Spirit of God so they must be excluded from inclusion in all flesh. "The Spirit of truth whom the world CANNOT receive" (Jn. 14:17). This promise does not include the totality of all flesh. It does not even include the totality of human flesh. This promise of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon all flesh is a promise to those whom God shall call to salvation. Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
It is very evident that all in verses 17 and 39 of Acts 2 is very limited in its scope. It is limited to believers. It is limited to AS MANY as the Lord will call and "ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called" (I Cor. 1:24). Even a casual examination of the context of this verse shows that this call is the call to salvation, not the call to the ministry as some erroneously interpret it. The promise of Acts 2:17, 39 is to "them which are called, both Jesus and Greeks (Gentiles) who see Christ crucified as "the power of God and the wisdom of God" (I Cor. 1:24). Let it be remembered well that here is a case where all actually refers to a small percentage of the totality of the flesh of men, fowl, fishes, and beasts.. Here all flesh refers to all of a particular class or group--all believers, all whom the Lord our God shall call to salvation.
What about the all of I Tim. 2:5-6? ". . . the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." Did he give himself for those who were already in hell at the time? Judas Iscariot had already gone there when Christ died. Did he give himself a ransom for Judas? And, what of the rich man of whom Christ spoke in Lu. 16 who lifted up his eyes in hell? That was not a parable. He was "a certain rich man," indicating there really was a person to whom Christ was referring. He was already in torments and was informed he was in inescapable torment. Does the all of I Tim. 2:5-6 include him? If your answer is positive, please tell me what good he received, or could have even possibly have received from the death of Christ. Or, what of the rich man whose land produced so much that he purposed to tear down his barns and build greater? Did Christ give himself a ransom for him even though he was already in hell when Christ died?
Jesus said that he did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. There is a generation that is right in their own sight. Jesus had reference to the self-righteous. If he did not come to call the self-sufficient, self-righteous to salvation, was he yet unwilling that they perish? He said, "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me" (Jn. 17:9). If he refused to pray for some folks, was he yet unwilling that they perish? Did he give himself a ransom for them even though he refused to pray for them?
God does not call many of the wise men of this world to salvation? 1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. Even though he does not call them with the calling under consideration in this passage, can you still say he is unwilling that they perish? God does not call many mighty men to salvation. Would you still say he is unwilling that they perish even though he does not call them? God does not call many noble men to salvation. Is he yet unwilling that they perish even though he does not call them? Did Christ give himself a ransom for some wise men of this world whom God will not call? Did Christ give himself a ransom for some noble men whom God will not call? These are questions that are provoked when you try to harmonize the interpretation many try to force on II Pet. 3:9.
We could go on and cite many other examples and ultimately show that the word all, as used in scripture, seldom includes the totality of men, or what ever is under discussion. We could show abundant evidence that it usually just means a great number. We could even show that all often does not even mean a majority. But, we have given enough to show that the word does not always mean every last person in the human race and more evidence is not necessary for the unprejudiced. The prejudiced will refuse to read that which appears to go against their preconceived notions, so more evidence for their sake would be wasted.
A NECESSARY DETERMINATION
It must now be determined if the words all and any in II Pet. 3:9 have reference to all the people in the world in absolute totality without a single exception. Do they even include those men "who were before of old ordained to condemnation" (Jude 4)? Do they include those who are "as natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed" (II Pet. 2:12)? Do they include "the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction" as well as "the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory" (Rom. 9:22-23? It must be determined if the "us" toward whom God is long-suffering is every last person in the world or a particular class or group of people.
To accomplish our objective
WE MUST CONSIDER THE TEXT IN THE LIGHT OF WHAT IS REVEALED IN SCRIPTURE ABOUT THE WILL OF GOD.
Paul declares that God "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11). Does he? If he does not will that one person in the world perish, then none will perish for he "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."
When he rated his own importance too highly, God sent Nebuchadnezzar to the Seminary of Insanity. He made him matriculate in that institution "til thou know that the most high ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will" (Dan. 4:25). For seven years he was the only student in this great wilderness school. He bunked with the beasts; he dined upon grass as did the oxen; his bath was the dew of heaven; his hair grew out and looked like eagles feathers; his nails were like the claws of a bird (Dan. 4:32-33). At the end of the seven years of intensive training, Nebuchadnezzar graduated from the Seminary of Insanity with the distinguished G. I. S. (God Is Sovereign) degree. Being the only student to graduate, Nebuchadnezzar was chosen to give the valedictory address. That address has been recorded in the eternally settled word of God. It is found in Dan. 4:30-37. The reader is urged to read it in full.
One of the many significant things declared by Nebuchadnezzar had to do with the invincible nature of the will of God. Of God he declared, "He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou?" (Dan. 4:35).
In the light of this declaration about the invincible will of God one is forced to make a limited application of all in II Pet. 3:9. There is one alternative. He can join those who teach the universal salvation of all men. If God wills the salvation of every last person in the world and does according to his will among the inhabitants of the earth, the all will be saved, unless all has a limited application in II Pet. 3:9, as it does in Acts 2:17 and other verses previously cited. What about II Pet. 3:9 in light of the invincibility of the will of God?
Further complicating the matter for those who hold that II Pet. 3:9 teaches that it is God's pleasure and will to save every last person in the world are the statements by David found in Psa. 115:3 and Psa. 135:6. In the first David writes, "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he pleased." In the second verse mentioned he said, "Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in the earth, in the seas, and in all deep places." Add to that God's unequivocal, explicit declaration concerning the accomplishment of his pleasure. He said, "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure . . . I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it" (Isa. 46:10-11).
If it is God's pleasure to save every last sinner in the world, every last person in the human family, then he will do just that for "Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he pleased." If it is God's pleasure to save every member of Adam's fallen posterity, they will be saved for God has categorically, explicitly declared, "I will do all my pleasure." There is not an area of all God's creation that is exempt from the full accomplishment of his pleasure. "Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places."
What about II Pet. 3:9 in the light of God's unfrustrated pleasure? Does it teach universal salvation, or the certainty of the salvation of a particular group, i. e., the elect (I Pet. 1:2). If it is concluded that us, any, and all in this verse (II Pet. 3:9) are universal in their scope, including the totality of the human race, then it must be deduced that all the human race will be saved.
You must espouse one of the following positions in the light of God's invincible, unfrustrated will and pleasure:
It is God's pleasure to save every person in the human race according to II Pet. 3:9.
God will do all his pleasure according to Isa. 46:10-11; Psa. 115:3; 135:6; Dan. 4:35; Eph. 1:11.
Therefore, every person in the human race will be saved.
It is God's pleasure to save all the elect according to II Pet. 3:9, Jn. 6:37; Jn. 17:2.
God will do all his pleasure according to scriptures cited in first proposition.
Therefore, all the elect will be saved.
Now, the scriptures clearly teach that all the human race will not be saved. "The wicked will be turned into hell" (Psa. 9:17). "The fearful, and unbelievers, and the abominable, and murders, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8). Once more, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:15).
In the light of these verses it is obvious that our first proposition was untrue. All the human race will not be saved. Therefore it follows that the God who does all his pleasure and perfectly fulfills his purpose did not purpose to save all the human race. The valid and scriptural alternative is that II Pet. 3:9 does not have in mind all the human race but rather the elect. This perfectly agrees with the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, "ALL that the Father giveth me shall come to me" (Jn. 6:37). Again he said of his lost sheep, "Them also I MUST BRING, and they shall hear my voice" (Jn. 10:16). Luke wrote of the Gentiles that heard Paul preach in Antioch of Pisidia: "As many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48).
To further determine who the us, any, and all of II Pet. 3:9 are
THE VERSE MUST BE CONSIDERED IN THE LIGHT OF ITS CONTEXT
The us, any, and all of II Pet. 3:9 very evidently refer to exactly the same people. "God is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any (of us) should perish, but that all (of us) should come to repentance" (II Pet. 3:9). Of whom is Peter speaking? It is clear from verse one that he is writing to the same folks as in his first epistle. "This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you" (II Pet. 3:1). In his first epistle to these folks he addresses them as "THE ELECT according to the foreknowledge (foreordination, same word as in Acts 2:23) of God the Father" (I Pet. 1:2). These people, as well as Peter, have been "begotten . . . again unto a lively hope" (II Pet. 1:3). These are people who have "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith" (I Pet. 1:4-5). This reserved inheritance is one which they obtained "being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11). The faith to which Peter refers in verse 5 is called "the faith of God's elect" (Titus 1:1). Peter calls it "like precious faith" which we have obtained through the righteousness of God.
Peter further identifies the us, any, and all in II Pet. 3:9 as those whom God "according to his divine power hath given . . . all things that pertain to life and Godliness" (II Pet. 1:3). He says that God "hath given" these things "unto us" and that he "hath called us to glory and virtue" (II Pet. 1:3). He has also "given unto us exceeding great and precious promises" (v-4). He has made us "partakers of the divine nature" (v-4). The same "brethren" have a "calling and election" of which they can be assured (II Pet. 1:10).
Is it not abundantly clear that the us of II Pet. 1:1, 3, 4 is the same us of II Pet. 3:9 toward whom God is longsufffering "not willing that any (of us) should perish, but that all should come to repentance"?
What about II Pet. 3:9 when it is examined in the light of its context?
That II Pet. 3:9 has reference to the elect is further substantiated when
THE VERSE IS HARMONIZED WITH OTHER
SCRIPTURES REGARDING THE ELECT
The verse harmonizes with the declaration of Jesus concerning His sheep. He was sent "to seek and to save" his "lost sheep" (Lu. 19:10, Matt. 25:24). He declared that the good shepherd will not be satisfied with there being even one lost sheep left in the wilderness when night comes but will "go after that which is lost until he find it" (Lu. 15:4). He declared that his lost "sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish" (Jn. 10:27-29). Of his lost Gentile sheep, some who were not even born at the time of his declaration, he said, "I must bring" them into the fold, "and they shall hear my voice" (Jn. 10:16). I would remind the reader that Jesus uttered this before he had turned to the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name. Yet, he referred to Gentiles whom he had not yet called as his sheep who would hear his voice and whom he was unwilling to let perish so he must bring them into the fold. Yes, he is unwilling that any of his sheep perish. He will not permit one of them to perish. He goes after them until they hear his voice and he brings them into the fold through repentance and faith. II Pet. 3:9 does harmonize with those verses referring to Christ's lost sheep being brought into the fold.
The verse harmonizes with Gabriel's declaration to Joseph concerning the naming of the virgin-born Son of Mary. He said, "Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he SHALL SAVE his people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). Please notice that Gabriel did not say, "He will offer, provide, make possible, or try to save his people from their sins." Gabriel explicitly, expressly declared, "HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS." By "HIS PEOPLE" Gabriel did not mean the Jews for all Jews are not saved. Judas Iscariot, the son of perdition, was a Jew. Of Judas and others like him Jesus prayed, "Add iniquity to their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness" (Psa. 69:27). Again he prayed concerning Judas, "When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin" (Psa. 109:7). How do you harmonize that with the idea that God is trying to save ever person in the human race? If all, any, and us in II Pet. 3:9 refer to every last person in the human race, how do you explain Jesus praying, "Let them not come into thy righteousness"? How do you explain Jesus praying, "When he shall be judged, let him be condemned"?
Jesus SHALL SAVE his people from their sins. He is not willing that any of them perish but that all of them come to repentance. They will be brought to repentance and faith for God has chosen them and will cause them to approach unto him (Psa. 65:4). They "shall be willing" in the day of his power (Psa. 110:3).
Who are these people who belong to Christ whom he shall save from their sins? Who are these people whom Christ is unwilling to allow to perish? They are the ones given to Christ by the Father. "ALL that the Father giveth me shall come to me" (Jn. 6:37). Notice the order in the verse. They were given to Christ before they come to him. They were given to him and then they come to him. The fact that they were given to him assures that they will come; they will all come! Not more! Not less! "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me." The fact that they shall come is just as certain as the fact that Jesus shall save them from their sins. That they shall come is just as certain as the assurance that they will not be cast out. "I will in no wise cast" them "out," declared the one who shall save them from their sins. II Pet 3:9 certainly harmonizes with Matt. 1:21 and Jn. 6:37.
Who are "his people" whom he "shall save" because he is unwilling that any of them perish? They are the ones to whom he gives eternal life. "As thou hast given him power over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him" (Jn. 17:2). He said to the Father, "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were and thou gavest them me" (Jn. 17:6). Again he said, "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine, and all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them . . . Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou has given me" (Jn. 17:6-9). "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am" (Jn. 17:24).
Christ has given eternal life to those whom the Father has given to him. And, in answer to his prayer the Father keeps them because he "hast loved them" as he loved Jesus Christ. He loved Christ "before the foundation of the world" (Jn. 17:23-24). All those given to Christ will one day be with him where he is and will behold his glory. He did not pray that the whole world, every last person in the human race, would be with him in heaven to behold his glory. He only prayed for those given to him by the Father. His prayer was not limited to those already saved and with him at that time, but for others whom the Father had given him and who "shall believe on me through their word" (Jn. 17:9, 20).
What about II Pet. 3:9 in the light of the certainty of the salvation of those people whom God has given to Christ to save? He is not willing that any of those given to the Son perish. "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day" (Jn. 6:39). Is there any reader out there who doubts that Christ will do the will of the Father? Are there those who think he might fail to perfectly do the Father's will? God gave a people to Christ and assured him that they would come to him (Jn. 6:37). They will all come and none of them will be cast out. It is the Father's will that they all be kept, not one can be lost, but all will be raised up at the last day. There is perfect harmony between II Pet. 3:9 and these other verses which have been considered.
In conclusion let us consider
THE TRUE MEANING OF II PETER 3:9 WHEN IT IS HARMONIZED WITH ITS CONTEXT, THE WILL OF GOD, AND OTHER PASSAGES IN THE WORD
After harmonizing II Pet. 3:9 in the various ways that has been done, it is evident that us, any, and all refer to all of a specific group of people, not to all mankind in totality.
II Pet. 3:9 teaches that God is longsuffering, patient, and kind in dealing with his sheep, his elect, his people whom he has given to Christ to save and whom Christ "shall save from their sins."
II Pet. 3:9 teaches that God is unwilling that any of his sheep perish but that they all come to repentance. Christ the good shepherd will "go after that which was lost (lost sheep), until he find it" (Lu. 15:5).
II Pet 3:9 teaches that all Christ's lost sheep will hear his voice and enter the fold. They will come to him and he will give them eternal life because God is unwilling that any of them perish.
In short, II Pet. 3:9 is not directed to the lost world but to the saints concerning their security and the certainty of the salvation of all those "elected together" with them (I Pet. 5:13).
A WORD TO THE LOST
There is nothing in this doctrine that should discourage you from coming to Christ. Rather it should encourage you to do so. If you will come to Christ you can know the loving assurance set forth in II Pet. 3:9). God will deal with you as a loving Father deals with a precious blood-bought son. He will not allow you to perish nor be plucked out of his hand. May he give you the faith of his elect (Tit. 1:1). Let us who are already saved be as Paul who said, "I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory" (II Tim. 2:10).