The Patience of God
Topic: Wednesday Nights Scripture: Hebrews 10:36
- Key Point: The Christian life requires endurance.
Hebrews 10:36 – For you have need of endurance.
Hebrews 12:1 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let run with endurance the race that is set before us,
- The term hupomone is used 32 times in the New Testament; the corresponding verb (hypomenein) is used 15 times in the New Testament.
- Foundation of Endurance: The Patience (Longsuffering) of God
Ephesians 5:1 – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
“As with so many commands of Scripture, ‘persevere’ is more than something God says; it is something he does. It is one of the many aspects of his character. The reason it is of great worth is that it is one of the chief ways God has revealed himself to us. Scripture consistently points to God’s perseverance and forbearance with his people.” (Ed Welch)
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God." (A.W. Tozer)
2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
2 Peter 3:15 - And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
- The word patient (makrothumeo) – comes from the word makros meaning "long" and thumos meaning "temper" or "passion." The word literally means to be “long in temper.”
“[makrothumia describes] The steadfast spirit that will never give in. . . that spirit of ‘patience and faith which will ultimately inherit the promise. . . The Christian must have this makrothumia which can endure delay and bear suffering and never give in.” (William Barclay, New Testament Words)
Exodus 34:6 - The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
Hebrews 6:13-15 - For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise (cf. Romans 4:19).
1 Corinthians 13:4 – Love is patient (KJV – “Love suffereth long”)
Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Titus 3:1-2 - Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
James 5:8-10 - You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
“Faithful and useful servants of God in the Old Testament had to endure suffering patiently. In fact, often the higher the status of the prophet in the Old Testament, the more intense his suffering. . . Much of what we have in the Bible is due to the prophets’ steadfast endurance. They are examples of not only how God can use someone, but also the faithful endurance required for God to work as He wills.” (Greg Harris, The Cup and the Glory)
James 5:11 - Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Psalm 86:15 - But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
"surely the longsuffering of God is as much one of the divine perfections as is His wisdom, power, or holiness, and as much to be admired and revered by us. . .the glory of this grace itself shines forth on almost every page of Scripture. Certain it is that we lose much if we do not frequently meditate upon the patience of God and earnestly pray that our hearts and ways may be more completely conformed thereto.
How wondrous is God’s patience with the world today. On every side people are sinning with a high hand. The Divine law is trampled underfoot and God Himself openly despised. It is truly amazing that He does not instantly strike dead those who so brazenly defy Him…Why does not the righteous wrath of Heaven make an end of such abominations? Only one answer is possible: because God bears with ‘much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.’” (A.W. Pink, The Attributes of God)
- A Definition of God’s Patience
- Definition: The longsuffering or patience of God is that excellency of His nature in which He bears with sin without immediately avenging Himself.
- In order to appreciate the patience of God, this attribute must be seen in connection with His holy wrath against sin.
The Wrath of God
Romans 1:18 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
Nahum 1:2 – The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies.
The Holiness of God
Isaiah 6:3 – “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
Revelation 4:8 – “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"
“[The] holiness of God may be defined as that perfection of God, in virtue of which He eternally wills and maintains His own moral excellence, abhors sin, and demands purity in His moral creatures.” (Louis Berkhof)
Isaiah 6:5 - “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Luke 5:8 - But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
“So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods. But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of Being he is, . . . what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness will become polluted with the greatest iniquity; what strangely imposed upon us under the name of wisdom will disgust by its extreme folly” (John Calvin)
James 2:10 – For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.
“[The wrath of God] is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin.” (A.W. Pink, The Attributes of God)
“[God’s longsuffering] is that aspect of the goodness or love of God in virtue of which He bears with the …evil in spite of their long continued disobedience. In the exercise of this attribute the sinner is contemplated as continuing in sin,…[Longsuffering] reveals itself in the postponement of the merited judgment.” (Louis Berkhof)
III. The Expression of God’s Patience
- God was patient towards Adam and Eve.
Genesis 2:15-17 - The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Genesis 3:6-9 - So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
Genesis 3:24 - He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
Genesis 5:5 - Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.
"His slowness to anger was evidenced in not directing his artillery against them, when they first attempted to rebel…[God] might have struck them dead when they began to bite at the temptation, and were inclinable to a surrender;…God might have given way to the floods of his wrath at the first spring of man’s aspiring thoughts, when the monstrous motion of being as God began to be curdled in his heart; …after [Adam] had brought his sin to perfection, God did not presently send that death upon him, which he had merited, but continued his life to the space of 930 years (Gen. v. 5). He added days and years to him, after he had deserved death, and hath for this 5,000 years continued the propagation of mankind, …and hath crowned multitudes of them with hoary heads…He might have extinguished human race at the first; but since he hath preserved it till this day, it must be interpreted nothing else but the effect of an admirable patience." (Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God)
- God was patient towards the nation of Israel.
Exodus 32:9 - And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people.
Jeremiah 3:6 - The LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore?
Hosea 1:2 - When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.”
Acts 13:18 - And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness.
Psalm 95:7-11 - Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.
Judges 21:25 - In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
2 Kings 21:10-12 - And the LORD said by his servants the prophets, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations and has done things more evil than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols, therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such disaster that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.
Jeremiah 44:4 - Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants the prophets, saying, ‘Oh, do not do this abomination that I hate!’
Hosea 11:8 - How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender.
Joel 2:12-13 - “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.
Isaiah 1:18- “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
- God was patient in the person of Jesus Christ.
Luke 9:54-55 – And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”
Matthew 19:13-15 – but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.
John 18:10-11 – Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Matthew 26:53 - Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?
- God is patient toward the world today.
Revelation 6:16-17 - “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
Revelation 14:10 - the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
2 Peter 3:8-10 – But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
“Longsuffering is that which keeps him from coming. He is bearing with men. Not yet the thunderbolt! Not yet the riven heavens and the reeling earth! Not yet the great white throne, and the day of judgment; for he is very pitiful, and beareth long with men! . . . he is very patient, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” (C.H. Spurgeon)
"While [God] is preparing his arrows, he is waiting for an occasion to lay them aside, and dull their points, that he may with honor march back again, and disband his armies. He brings lighter smarts sooner, that men might not think him asleep, but he suspends the more terrible judgments that men might be led to repentance . . . Many will howl when God strikes them, and laugh at him when he forbears them…”(Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God)
Romans 9:22-23 – What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory –
- God is patient with you and with me.
1 Timothy 1:12-17 - I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Romans 2:4 (NASB) - Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
“Though he doth defer his visible wrath, yet that very delay may be more dreadful than a quick punishment. He may forbear striking, and give the reins to the hardness and corruption of men’s hearts; he may suffer them to walk in their own counsels,…whereby they make themselves fitter fuel for his vengeance…many abusers of patience may still have their line lengthened, and the candle of prosperity to shine upon their heads, that they may increase their sins, and be the fitter mark at last for his arrows; at last, it will be a great part of their hell to reflect on the length of Divine patience on earth, and their inexcusable abuse of it.” (Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God)
Michael Pohlman on COVID-19 pandemic:
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” (C.S. Lewis)
“…this is the primary note that we need to strike in our day [the mercy of God]…God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. So this is a day of salvation. Let us be about working and praying that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ would be spread in our day.”
James 5:8 – You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
“The frequent consideration of his patience would render God highly amiable to us…[His] patience to us as sinners, after we have merited the greatest wrath, shows him to be of a sweeter disposition than creating goodness to unoffending creatures; and, consequently, speaks a greater love in him, and bespeaks a greater affection from us…In this patience he exceeds the mildness of all creatures to us; and therefore should be enthroned in our affections above all other creatures. The consideration of this would make us affect him for his nature as well as for his benefits.
Meditate often on the patience of God.
O infinite patience to employ that power to preserve me, that might have been used to punish me!...His undeserved patience hath been more than our merited judgments can possibly be thought to be. Let us imitate God’s patience in our own to others. He is unlike God that is hurried, with an unruly impetus, to punish others for wronging him. The consideration of Divine patience should make us square ourselves according to that pattern. An unwillingness to revenge is a sign of a power over ourselves which is more noble than to be a monarch over others.” (Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God)