God’s patience means he is willing to wait 1,000’s of years to accomplish a plan.
No one really knows how long it was from Adam and Eve’s sin to Jesus’ coming. He could have come immediately. Instead, God utilized the millennia in between to set up the most incredible story ever told.
Peter is writing decades after Jesus’ ascension. And some are scoffing at the belief of Christians who held onto the return of Jesus. He hadn’t returned in 30, 40, 50 years! It was crazy to think he’d return at all! To God, what are a few decades when his plan took millennia to accomplish? And today, another couple millennia after this, how crazy is it to still be thinking he’ll return?
Those who would scoff don’t understand God’s patience. First, they don’t understand his ability to be patient over the course of millennia. He has a deliberate plan. Nothing will thwart that plan. And our inability to see his end game certainly won’t speed God up.
Second, they don’t understand his reasoning behind delaying. God delays so they will be able to repent! They are scoffing the very thing that is God’s evidence of mercy towards them! This doesn’t mean we judge them. This means we work to let them know of God’s patience and kindness towards them. We let them know his ability to forgive and give righteousness.
Peter’s reasoning behind writing this is so the readers don’t lose heart in the middle. The middle of God’s patience. It is tempting to lose sight of what God is doing. And then we lose heart and lose focus on eternity. God will bring judgment on unrighteousness. He did so with a flood. He will do so with a fire.
But the righteous look forward to a new heaven and new earth. A new creation that will forever be untainted by unrighteousness. Righteousness alone will dwell there. No chance of picking the wrong tree because there will be no wrong tree! But we must always remember we were once unrighteous. And it is God’s grace that delivered righteousness to us.
So we must not waver in the middle of God’s patience. Stand strong on his promise to save the righteous. And have mercy on those who have yet to see the patience of God for their salvation.
Throughout this year (Aug. 2016-Aug. 2017), CrossPoint will be reading through the New Testament. We are doing this because we’re learning about the Church and the New Testament is the handbook for the church. Therefore, join us as we follow this reading plan. Today’s reading is from 2 Peter 3.