The Longsuffering of God

We all know that God is love (1 John 4:16).  John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  As an extension of that love, God is also very patient and longsuffering.  As we read in the Old Testament, we see how longsuffering he was with the nation of Israel in spite of their sins over hundreds of years.  The first century Christians expected Jesus to return in a few short years.  But here it is nearly two thousand years later and he still hasn’t returned.  2 Peter 3:8-9 “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 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.”  Here is the reason for His being longsuffering:  He is not willing that any should perish.  He wants everyone to repent.  He has given us all time to repent, to change our minds, to change our ways, to conform to His ways.  Romans 2:3-5 “And do you think … that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”  God is a righteous God.  Yet He has been forbearing in giving mankind the punishment we deserve because He wants His goodness to lead us to repentance.  For each of us, there are two responses we should have.  First, for any sin we have in our own lives, God’s goodness should lead us to repentance, to stop the sinning.  Second, for those in the world who don’t know God, or for those who have fallen away from God, He is giving them time to repent.  We have the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) to show them the goodness of God and to hopefully lead them to repentance.  God is good – all the time.

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