Let’s look at those verses together. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “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.” Romans 9:22-23 says, “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: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.” I’m going to assume that your question concerns the Lord being “not willing that any should perish”, yet He speaks of “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.”

We need to go back and read Romans 9:14-15, “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” We begin with an important and foundational truth…God is righteous! Always! Does He have the right to show mercy and compassion as He chooses? We have to answer with a hearty YES because we are ALL guilty of sin, and we ALL deserve to spend eternity in Hell. No one is exempt. Romans 3:23 tells us plainly, “For ALL HAVE SINNED, and come short of the glory of God.” However, notice that it is only God’s mercy and compassion that is mentioned.

Let’s keep reading in Romans 9:17-18, “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Here, we read of God’s mercy and his hardening. We read in Exodus 7:13, “And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.” How did the Lord harden Pharaoh’s heart? I believe He hardened Pharaoh’s heart by presenting him with the truth. Often, the truth offends and hardens. Is the fault with the message or is it with the hearer? An old saying that would be appropriate to use here is: The same sun that melts the wax, hardens the clay. Same sun! Different materials! Another old saying is: The same boiling water that softens the potato will harden the egg. Again, same boiling water, but different materials. Even though Pharaoh had a hardened heart, the Lord used Him to show His power to all those in Egypt.

Verses 20-21 say, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” How can we disagree with or say that the Lord is wrong? Is He not God? Does He not have the right to take these dishonorable vessels and use them to honor His own name? He certainly does have that right and did in many times, as we read from the Word.

So it is that the Lord was very patient with Pharaoh (and others). However, because of Pharaoh’s resistance in the face of God’s power, the Lord eventually dealt with him accordingly. The Lord also used Pharaoh by being patient with him and then illustrated His power against Him because of his disobedience. In that, the Lord could “make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.” So, the Lord used a Christ rejecter to honor Himself. I hope you can see that his portion does not contradict 2 Peter 3:9 at all. The Lord is gracious. He is loving and He truly wants all to come to Him for salvation. I pray that if you have never accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior that you would put you faith in Him right now…realizing that He died, was buried, and rose again for our eternal life and security. Will the Lord save you? YES HE WILL. We read in John 6:37, “…him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (232.2)