Patience? Whose?

Vol. 3, No. 21 – May 27, 2018

Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads to repentance? Romans 2:4

Romans 2 is a chapter that speaks of a crisis of character.

The greatest threat before us is no longer a Russian invasion or a nuclear holocaust. Neither should our greatest concern be a stock market crash, or even the erosion of the ozone layer. The greatest challenge before us is not an external threat but an internal one; a crisis of character. We are now a nation where the values that restrain inner vices and develop inner virtues are eroding. Unprincipled men and women, disdainful of their moral heritage and skeptical of truth itself. Are destroying our civilization by weakening the very pillars upon which it rests. –Charles (Chuck) Colson

Chapter 2 opens up with these words: Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself for you who judge practice the same things.

It is akin to this: Well, you may be saying, “what terrible people you have been talking about!” But just wait a minute! You and I are just as bad. When we say they are wicked and should be punished, we are talking about ourselves as well. We are guilty of many of the same things. We read the writings of the 21 outcroppings of sin (1:29-32), and we cannot escape the fact that we are guilty of at least one or two of them; perhaps more if we are honest. But to be abandoned, that seems a stretch.

Have I been abandoned by a Holy God? No way! I have a threefold special favor that leads me to repentance (the COMPLETE turn-around).

The wealth of His goodness is generous. We can never out-love Him. There is this common grace of God that brings blessings to unregenerate mankind that allows them to live in peace, to amass fortunes, to live in health as a product of the goodness of God. God does release a lavish gentleness.

There is the wealth of His toleration (God’s toleration is not like ours). God holds back; most of our Bible versions use the term forbearance. It is not gone for the unbeliever, just delayed for the time being. Overlooked; passed over for a time. It is as though the Lord lifts in His one hand the thunderbolt of His wrath against unregenerate people of the earth, and then with the other hand restrains Himself from the punishment that is merited by people of the earth.

This is the sumptuous restraint of Almighty God; God’s reckless unrestrained love for those He created!

There is the wealth of His loooong suffering. The idea of slowness in avenging wrongs is foreign in our thinking. However, remember the children of Israel in their famous march for a week around the city of Jericho? They did it in absolute silence, which was well-calculated to impress upon the inhabitants the lesson of the long sufferings of God. It was a teachable moment on the liberal patience of God.

Think back in your own life, upon your life style, upon your desires, and upon God’s activity in your life. What do you see; what do you remember? How great is loves worth?

All we like sheep have gone astray
Each of us has turned to his own way.
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
to fall on Him (Isaiah 53:6)

All means all, and that is all all means!

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

May 27, 2018

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