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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

"God's Patience With Us"


Message Summary: As we pray for others to come to righteousness, let us also examine our own hearts. The Lord God is patient with us, but we bring a lot of chaos, inner turmoil, and judgment upon ourselves when we delay repentance which includes turning away from the sin that so easily entangles us with our arch enemy.  


"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:8,9).

We are often blessed as we pass local churches with a sign that not only identifies the name of the church but also presents a brief message of truth. These signs are often changeable and post a variety of thought-provoking messages. Here’s a great message on a church sign we saw here in Lancaster County. "Don't mistake God's patience for His permission." Can you just picture this truth on a sign scrolled across the sky or uttered by a booming heavenly voice, "DON'T MISTAKE MY PATIENCE FOR MY PERMISSION"

Yet so many want God's permission, approval, and even His blessing for a sinful, rebellious lifestyle that the Holy Scriptures clearly prohibit. These include sins like greed, sexual immorality, dishonesty, and other offenses, perhaps summed up in this phrase from the Apostle John, "The cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does" (1 John 2:16).

Let us consider today one phrase from the daily Scripture portion: "He is patient with you." The word "patient" is translated “longsuffering” in the King James Version. This word needs little explanation since it means exactly what it sounds like when we rotate the compound word; “suffering long.”

He indeed suffers long in regard to His dealing with the human race and we consider His patience toward us as He deals with us individually. I recall listening to a song about God's grace with a friend. His words stayed with me when my friend commented: “Even though we are recipients of God's unending grace we can have such difficulty applying that kind of grace to others.”

But let’s consider another sense of God's patience today when we again look at the phrase: “He is patient with you." The distinctive Greek word used for "you" is in the plural and I believe this is the sense used in the daily text. In previous times of judgment there have been long periods when God's patience might have been mistaken for His permission. How many years did Sodom slide into decadence before judgment day finally came? What about the long coast toward sin that Israel drifted into before judgment was pronounced on them?

Today we are confident that God is not winking at the rebellion in our lives or in the world around us. He is not placing His blessing on that which defiles His holy character. But He is suffering long so that those who have turned their backs away from Him might come to repentance. In addition there is much growth and learning that takes place for those who, after years of rejecting God, finally seek the Father asking His forgiveness. 

Often those who have lived hard lives of defilement are better equipped to reach the unregenerate since they more easily relate to their ongoing, sinful lifestyle and can connect in ways those of us who found Christ early in life are often unable to do so. Don't misunderstand me, as I believe wholeheartedly that accepting Christ at a tender young age is better by far than rejecting Christ year after year. After all, there are many whose destiny is hell because they delayed making the decision to follow Christ until it was eternally too late. Nevertheless God uses believers from many different backgrounds to reach the lost and lead them to repentance.

We know that many of our faithful readers are diligently praying for their loved ones to turn away from a life of sin and come to faith in Christ. Keep praying for that wayward child, parent(s), unsaved spouse, other family members and those people God lays upon your heart, perhaps at work or in your neighborhood.

As we pray for others to come to righteousness, let us also examine our own hearts. The Lord God is patient with us, but we bring a lot of chaos, inner turmoil, and judgment upon ourselves when we delay repentance which includes turning away from the sin that so easily entangles us with our arch enemy.  

As we seek to follow Christ, the grace of God teaches “us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldy passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12&13). 


Be encouraged today,


Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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