God’s Patience Towards Sinful Mankind

30 12 2007

I personally am extremely thankful for both God’s grace and His patience in dealing with me. As a formerly lost sinner now saved by the grace of God, I am acutely aware of how the Divine justice of God has been dealt with on my behalf – through the propitiatory, penalty of sin-satisfying blood of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.

God has been patient and gracious toward me in the past, and He continues to be so with me up to this day. And God is patient toward this sinful world that is so deserving of judgment for sinful rebellion against God and corruption of God’s holy purpose. His patience as part of His divine decree must be staying His hand of judgment at this time.

But when the time of God’s judgment upon the sin of this world eventually comes in the fulfillment of God’s eternal, righteous, sovereign decree, it will be fearful to see the outpouring of the pent-up wrath of God upon this world! Praise God for His grace towards His people, and for His patience at this time toward the world – but for His grace we ALL would be consumed!

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Romans 9:22-24

(22) What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? (23) And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, (24) even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

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A.W. Pink in his book The Attributes of God (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan – 2001) discusses the Patience of God (pages 61-65) (click here). Following are some excerpts with supporting Scripture regarding the great patience of God toward the sin of mankind in general and toward someone like me in particular.

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A. How God’s Patience Differs from His Mercy

“It is a part of the Divine goodness and mercy, yet differs from both. God being the greatest goodness, hath the greatest mildness; mildness is always the companion of true goodness, and the greater the goodness, the greater the mildness. Who so holy as Christ, and who so meek? God’s slowness to anger is a branch of His mercy: “the Lord is full of compassion, slow to anger” (Psalms 145:8). It differs from mercy in the formal consideration of the subject: mercy respects the creature as miserable, patience respects the creature as criminal; mercy pities him in his misery, patience bears with the sin which engendered the misery, and giving birth to more.”

“Men that are great in the world are quick in passion, and are not so ready to forgive an injury, or bear with an offender, as one of a meaner rank. It is a want of power over that man’s self that makes him do unbecoming things upon a provocation. A prince that can bridle his passions is a king over himself as well as over his subjects. God is slow to anger because (He is) great in power. He has no less power over Himself than over His creatures.”

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Some supporting scripture….

Nehemiah 9:16-17

(16) But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly; They became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments.

(17) They refused to listen, And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness; And You did not forsake them.

Psalm 103:8-11

(8) The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.

(9) He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.

(10) He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

(11) For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.

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B. God’s Patient Forebearance of Sin’s Just Punishment

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C. God’s Patience Toward this Sinful World and the Modern Church

D. God’s Patience Towards Us (and our need to be so to others)

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God’s Love for His Elect and His Goodness toward All Mankind

15 12 2007

A question: How broadly does God’s love extend to mankind, and what is the breadth of His goodness towards all?

  • Again: Does God love everyone, both His elect and those that are not His elect?
  • So, if He does not love those people that are not His elect, then how do we understand His purposes in providing good things, good provisions for life for all people?
  • Is the breadth of God’s love and of God’s goodwill or His goodness the same in regards to mankind? How do we reconcile the intersection of God’s love for His Children and God’s goodwill toward all of mankind?

These big questions, these big topics of Christian doctrine have lead many people of faith to have strong differences of opinion. In pursuit of the answers to these questions a person eventually finds themselves seeking to understand the extent of the atoning work of Christ on the cross. These can be complex issues to understand, but it seems good to hold to the following Biblical principles…..

God loves His elect. Yet He is good to all in His provisions. He is carrying out His sovereign plan – His eternal decree.

God indeed is love, and God indeed is good. Amen!

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A. God’s Love for His Elect

1 John 4:8-10

(8) “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (9) By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. (10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

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In his book Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois – 1993), J. I. Packer discusses the Goodness of God (pages 45-47)…

“When John says “God is love” (1 John 4:8), what he means … is that the Father through Christ has actually saved us formerly lost sinners who now believe. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God” — we didn’t — “but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).”

“As always in the New Testament, “us” as the objects and beneficiaries of redeeming love means “us who believe.” Neither here nor elsewhere does “we” or “us” refer to every individual belonging to the human race. New Testament teaching on redemption is particularistic throughout, and when “the world” is said to be loved and redeemed (John 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 5:19, 1 John 2:2), the reference is to the great number of God’s elect scattered worldwide throughout the ungodly human community (cf. John 10:16; John 11:52-53), not to each and every person who did, does, or shall exist. If this were not so, John and Paul would be contradicting things that they say elsewhere.”

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John 3:16-17

(16) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (17) For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

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2 Corinthians 5:18-21

(18) Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, (19) namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (20) Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (21) He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

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1 John 2:1-2

(1) “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; (2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

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B. God’s Goodness Toward All Mankind

J. I. Packer goes on to say….

“This sovereign redemptive love is one facet of the quality that Scripture calls God’s goodness (Psalms 100:5; Mark 10:18), that is, the glorious kindness and generosity that touches all his creatures (Psalms 145:9, 15-16) and that ought to lead all sinners to repentance (Romans 2:4). Other aspects of this goodness are the mercy or compassion or pity that shows kindness to persons in distress by rescuing them out of trouble (Psalm 107; Psalm 136) and the long-suffering, forbearance, and slowness to anger that continues to show kindness toward persons who have persisted in sinning (Exodus 34:6; Psalms 78:38; John 3:10-4:11; Romans 9:22; 2 Peter 3:9). The supreme expression of God’s goodness is still, however, the amazing grace and inexpressible love that shows kindness by saving sinners who deserve only condemnation: saving them, moreover, at the tremendous cost of Christ’s death on Calvary (Romans 3:22-24; 5:5-8; 8:32-39; Ephesians 2:1-10; 3:14-18; 5:25-27).”

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Psalm 100:5

(5) For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.

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Psalm 145:9-16

(9) The LORD is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.
(10) All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
(11) They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
(12) To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
(13) Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
(14) The LORD sustains all who fall
And raises up all who are bowed down.
(15) The eyes of all look to You,
And You give them their food in due time
.
(16) You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing
.

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Romans 9:22-23

(22) “What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? (23) And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, (24) even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”

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2 Peter 3:3-10

(3) “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, (4) and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” (5) For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, (6) through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. (7) But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (8) But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.”

(9)”The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (10) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”

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C. God’s Faithful Goodness to Us Inspite of Our Sin and Failures

Packer goes on further to state……

“God’s faithfulness to his purposes, promises, and people is a further aspect of his goodness and praiseworthiness. Humans lie and break their word; God does neither. In the worst of times it can still be said: “His compassions never fail. …. Great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-24; Psalms 36:5; cf. Psalm 89, especially verses 1-2, 14, 24, 33, 37, 49). Though God’s ways of expressing his faithfulness are sometimes unexpected and bewildering, looking indeed to the casual observer like unfaithfulness, the final testimony of those who walk with God through life’s ups and downs is that “every promise has been fulfilled; not one of them has failed” (Joshua 23:14-15). God’s fidelity, along with the other aspects of his gracious goodness as set forth in his Word, is always solid ground on with to rest our faith and hope.”

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Joshua 23:14-15

(14) “Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed. (15) It shall come about that just as all the good words which the LORD your God spoke to you have come upon you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the threats, until He has destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you.”

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God is Faithful

10 12 2007

God IS faithful in all He does as He carries out His divine will. Because He is faithful, we His people can look forward to the future in both this life and for eternity. We do not have to be overcome by worry about the needs in our lives.

Following are some Scripture passages that explain the faithfulness of God, and in turn can build up our faith and trust in the Lord God Almighty.

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1. Matthew 6:25-34

“(25) For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (26) Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (27) And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? (28) And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, (29) yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. (30) But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! (31) Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ (32) For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (33) But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (34) So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

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2. Dueteronomy 7:8-10

“(8) but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (9) Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; (10) but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face.”

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In The Attributes of God (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan – 2001) (click here) A. W. Pink discusses the working out of God’s faithfulness in His dealing with all of mankind (pages 52-56)…

“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God” (Deuteronomy 7:9). This quality is essential to His being, without it He would not be God. For God to be unfaithful would be to act contrary to His nature, which were impossible: “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).”

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3. 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

“(4) I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, (5) that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, (6) even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, (7) so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, (8) who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

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Again, A. W. Pink says…

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4. 1 Corinthians 10:13

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

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5. 2 Thessalonians 3:2-4

“(2) and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. (3) But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (4) We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.”

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6. 2 Timothy 2:11-13

“(11) It is a trustworthy statement:
For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
(12) If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
(13) If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”

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Following are more of A. W. Pink’s observations on God’s faithfulness, focusing on God’s preservation of His people…

God is faithful in preserving His people. “God is faithful, by whom ye are called unto the fellowship of His Son” (1 Corinthinans 1:9). In the previous verse promise was made that God would confirm unto the end His own people. The Apostle’s confidence in the absolute security of believers was founded not on the strength of their resolutions or ability to persevere, but on the veracity of Him that cannot lie. Since God has promised to His Son a certain people for His inheritance, to deliver them from sin and condemnation, and to make them participants of eternal life in glory, it is certain that He will not allow any of them to perish.”

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7. Hebrews 3:1-3

“(1) Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; (2) He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. (3) For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.”

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8. 1 Peter 4:19

“Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”

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9. Revelation 21:4-6

“(4) and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

(5) And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new ” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” (6) Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.”

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10. Revelation 22:1-7

“(1) Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, (2) in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (3) There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; (4) they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. (5) And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.”

“(6) And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true“; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. (7) And behold, I am coming quickly Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”

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Other quotes from A. W. Pink regarding God’s faithfulness…..

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“God is faithful in disciplining His people. He is faithful in what He withholds, no less than in what He gives. He is faithful in sending sorrow as well as in giving joy. The faithfulness of god is a truth to be confessed by us not only when we are at ease, but also when we are smarting under the sharpest rebuke. Nor must this confession be merely of our mouths, but of our hearts, too. When God smites us with the rod of chastisement, it is faithfulness which wields it. To acknowledge this means that we humble ourselves before Him, own that we fully deserve His correction, and instead of murmuring, thank Him for it. God never afflicts without reason. “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you” (1 Corinthians 11:30), says Paul, illustrating this principle. When His rod falls upon us let us say with Daniel, “O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee, but unto us confusion of faces’ (Daniel 9:7)”

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These last words quoted from A.W. Pink are our application regarding how we should respond to God in regards to His faithfulness….