(This is a continuation of the bulletin article from September 12, 2021)
What are some lessons that we can learn from the longsuffering of God?
- 1.We learn that when God says He will do something – He will do it! Hence, when we read that God is reserving the world for judgment by fire (2 Peter 3) we can know that this is what He will do!
- 2.We learn that sin is what separates man from God, and sin must be punished, because it is an affront to the holiness of God. Further, (as will be noted below) sin unpunished causes greater sin and degradation.
- 3.We see that, before God brings about the judgment which He has said is sure to come, He gives explicit warnings to encourage men to repent.
- 4.Only those who are obedient to God’s commands will be saved – all others will be lost. While this may offend those who cannot see God in any other terms than that of love, it is still the truth. Many will be lost on Judgment Day because they will not do the will of God (Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23).
- 5.We see that God places limits on His mercy and grace, and that after the limit has been reached, punishment comes. (Jeremiah 7:13-16; 11:11-17). Jeremiah 11 teaches that the piteous cries of those distressed will not cause God’s intended punishment to cease (v 11), nor their cries to the idols they worshipped (v 12) nor the acceptable prayers of the righteous (v 14) nor their past favors and privileges (vs 15-16) will stall God’s punishment.
- 6.We see that God’s longsuffering is precious to us. Nations, churches, and individuals all have been examples of his tolerance of sin. The only reason why we have not been judged is because of his patient longsuffering, and his earnest desire that man repent. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11).
- 7.God’s longsuffering has been abused. We often think we can sin, and we will have time to repent. We think that God will not carry out his promises to judge the world for its sin (we disregard the fact that God has already judged the world through the flood and has punished nation after nation that were in opposition to him or his people). Do we think we can presume upon God’s loving longsuffering? Do we leave people with the impression that they can continue in sin “that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1-2). It is not the occasional sin that wears out God’s longsuffering, but the sin that is repeated despite the clear warnings where such a life will lead.
- 8.God warns, pleads and threatens in his word, and it is imperative that we preach ALL the counsel of God. God does not punish because of insufficient love, but because of his great love. God cares for all men. He disciplines the impenitent to warn him or her, and to cause them to think about their manner of life. He punishes sinners to warn others of the results of their sins.
- 9.Christians have the responsibility to be like God when it comes to being longsuffering. Galatians 5:22 mentions the fruit of the Spirit, and the list ties together, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith” As God is longsuffering, God’s people must be longsuffering. In Ephesians 4:1-2 Paul wrote, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience (longsuffering in the NKJV), bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (ESV). Paul set the example to Timothy as noted in 2 Timothy 3:10-12 when he said about himself “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Hence, he encouraged Timothy to follow his example in 2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (Perhaps preachers need to learn the importance of being long suffering as they deal with brothers and sisters in Christ, and with those in the world). But this is not just for preachers or leaders in the church as we have Paul commanding the Colossians in 3:12-13 “ Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
What would happen if we would put on the quality of being patient or longsuffering? Would there be more peace in the church? Would we be more patient with those struggling in sin, and help them in every way we can? Would we be more diligent in confronting our brethren and our friends who are still in sin, and strive to regain them, “considering ourselves, lest we be tempted.” (Galatians 5:2).
Let us rejoice in God’s patience, and at the same time not take advantage of it by engaging in sin. Love, Tommy
A FATHER’S LOVE
“In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10).
A devout Christian became seriously ill. In his weakened physical condition, he became vulnerable to Satan’s attacks, and began to have doubts and fear. He was especially troubled about the lack of love he felt in his heart for God, so he asked the advice of a fellow believer who visited with him. His friend offered this wise counsel . . .
“When I go home, I expect to take my baby girl on my knee, look into her sweet, trusting eyes, and listen to her delightful chatter. I’ll do this because I thoroughly love that child. She’s just an infant and she loves me very little. If my heart were breaking, her innocent sleep would not be disturbed. If my body were racked with pain, her play would not be interrupted: Even if I were to die, she’d probably forget me in a few days. But all the money in the world could not buy my little daughter. And why? Does she love me, or do I love her? Do I withhold my love until I know she feels the same toward me? Certainly not! I love her because she’s my child.”
The illustration spoke to the sick man’s heart. Tears began to well up in his eyes. “Now I see!” he exclaimed. “It’s not my love for God but His love for me that I should be thinking of. Oh, I do not love him now as never before!”
Doubting Christian, stop looking at your changing feelings. You’ll only make yourself more miserable. Look to Jesus. Think of His warm, undying love for you, and your assurance will return. Remind yourself often of this marvelous verse: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” I John 4:10
Author unknown Via Gallipolis OH