As we begin looking at another attribute of God I am reminded that this particular attribute is misunderstood by the unbelievers and taken for granted by many believers. Hopefully you will see what I mean as the text unfolds.
As customary Webster’s 1828 states of Longsuffering as –
– Bearing injuries or provocation for a long time; patient; not easily provoked.
There really is not much more to say for human history demonstrates God’s patient longsuffering toward us. What can be added though is His reason for being so which really is a twofold purpose. 1) He is longsuffering not willing that any should fall into judgment. Peter addresses this in 2 Peter 3:9 in response to the mockers of v 2 which say that Christ is not returning. So that Peter directly implies that judgment also comes with the coming of Christ. 2) That God’s patient longsuffering (i.e. kindness) leads to salvation (or is meant to).
Now one may ask that if God is Sovereign then why does it not lead to salvation rather than it is meant too. That is a very good question the answer to which should come up in about 8 weeks so hold on we will get there I promise. But suffice it to be for now to note that it does lead to salvation to those whom the Father calls (Jn 6:37; 44) and to the rest no amount of patience will be enough since they will actively refuse His call (Mt 23:37).
We also must note that God’s longsuffering is an act of kindness toward those who are lost since if He were not so they would immediately fall into judgment and condemnation. I am reminded of the account (told as true) of the atheist who challenged God that if He existed to prove it by striking him dead within 5 minutes. As the time came and went the atheist stated this was proof that God does not exist to which a wise saint stated “my good man do you suppose you could exhaust God’s patience in a mere 5 minutes?”
No indeed not but there is coming a time when His patience will end but for now today is the day of salvation and now is the acceptable time (2 Cor 6:2).
“The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth; who keeps loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin” Ex. 34:6-7.