Two Purposes in God’s Patience
God is patient. The Bible is clear on this, and what an amazing truth! He is slow to anger and rich in love. Now, God does get angry; however, he does not become easily angered because he is patient.
The Apostle Paul knew this about God. In fact, he provides helpful knowledge about God’s patience in Romans 2:3-5.
Do you suppose, O man — you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself — that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (ESV)
We’ve got plenty to chew on here. I’m not sure if you caught it, but in this text of Scripture, Paul just revealed two purposes in God’s patience. One purpose is positive, regarding those who repent. The other purpose is a negative, regarding those who do not.
Here is the positive purpose in God’s patience — it is meant to lead us to repentance.
All have wandered from God and deserve severe judgement, but God has shown great patience. Something powerful and miraculous happens inside those who encounter God’s patience. Having new eyes to see, believers are willing to forsake their old habits in order to glorify God.
You see, our choices change after realizing how kind God is toward us. His patience empowers us to stop doing the things God hates and start doing what pleases him. In this way, his patience produces repentance in all believers.
Here is the negative purpose in God’s patience — it allows sinners to store up wrath.
When God’s hand of restraint is removed, mankind is able to produce rampant wickedness. God’s patience allows sinners to continue in their sinfulness. In this way, the unrepentant are storing up wrath for themselves.
God is just and would be righteous in giving us what we deserve after the first sin we commit. One simple sin is enough to receive condemnation. The patience of God benefits us in the first, positive purpose; however, in the second, negative purpose, it is terrifying.
This revelation from the Apostle Paul, in Romans chapter two, is worthy of self-examination. We should never pervert the grace of God by refusing to repent just because his grace is available. As Paul writes, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!” (Romans 6:1-2).
So does God’s patience lead you to repentance or is his patience only allowing you to store up wrath for yourself on the day of judgement?
We have these two purposes in God’s patience. Everyone should examine themselves to see which purpose in God’s patience suits them. I preached on this in my recent sermon, which you can view here.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and encourage you to soak in the grace of God. His grace is sufficient. Forgiveness is on the table. It’s available to you now.
Behold, God is patient. May his kindness lead us to repentance.