Wednesday, May 23, 2018

“Longsuffering, Abundant and Limited”

"Longsuffering, Abundant and Limited"

    The word "longsuffering" Biblically describes the love of God in a beautiful aspect of its present administration.  How the Lord bears with us, be it His trusting sons and daughters in Christ, or the present devilish and fleshly world system.  More to the point, how He suffers long with me!

    "But Thou, o Lord, art a God full of compassion and gracious, longsuffering and plenteous in mercy and truth" (Psalm 86:15).

    God's longsuffering constitutes a beautiful characteristic of His nature.  He so lovingly desires to bless creation that when it goes awry, He patiently works His purposes of redemption in the Lord Jesus.  Interestingly, however, God's patience is not unlimited, as the prophet reveals: "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found" (Isaiah 55:6).  God's righteous holiness necessarily governs and structures His patience.  Those who persist in unbelief must ultimately experience the sad effects of refusing to flow with the current of the Divine as it proceeds from the heart of God.  Our Lord would contradict His nature if He allowed sin and sinners to proceed in perpetuity.   Moreover, creation would ultimately be destroyed by such allowance (Mark 13:20).  Thus, God suffers long into the night of a fallen world, seeking to illuminate and redeem those who will respond to His overtures of grace and truth in Christ.  We nevertheless must also acknowledge the limits of God's patience in personal terms and also regarding those with whom we share the Gospel.  No unbeliever should test the parameters of God's longsuffering.  "Today is the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2).  Nor should believers blithely consider that since the Lord is so kindly natured, He will allow waywardness in us to continue unchecked.  Indeed, it was to and about Christians that the writer of Hebrews declared that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:30-31).

    We must view God in terms of both longsuffering and necessarily limited patience.  Both comprise His nature and exist in perfect temper and harmony with each other.  We rejoice in our Lord's patience.  We respect the character that determines the limitations thereof.  These are dual rails of Truth upon which proper understanding of the Divine nature leads to the proper response of both joy and fear.

"And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth."
(Exodus 34:6)
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
(Galatians 6:6-7)

Weekly Memory Verse
  "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (II Corinthians 4:18)


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