HE IS LONGSUFFERING
The Apostle Peter tells us there’s a reason Jesus hasn’t returned yet. He writes, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering . . . not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Our Lord is abundant in patience toward the ungodly.
Personally, I am amazed at God’s patience with us in this generation. The moral slide is grievous even to secular observers. Even if you try to keep a clean conscience, your mind is saturated with reports of the evils happening every day. Some things are so vile as to be incomprehensible: murders in schools, child abuse, militant homosexuality, unspeakable atrocities.
Often our hearts cry out, “Lord, when will there be justice? When will You bring evildoers to judgment?” We wonder why God waits so long to deal with the unspeakable wickedness so rampant today. We picture the scene when evildoers finally kneel before the Lord, facing His holiness.
But Peter says Jesus isn’t focusing on judgment right now, even for the worst of sinners. Rather, our Lord is preoccupied with mercy. He is longsuffering toward the worst of evildoers. And He’s waiting to show mercy to every unrepentant sinner, wooing and pursuing them.
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (3:11–14, italics mine).
We can spend our days preoccupied with signs of the times, in the Middle East, or elsewhere. But God says, “Look to your own heart. Be sure you’re diligent to keep My Word.” Paul adds, “Every one of us shall give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). He then warns us not to judge others, and to be careful not to become a stumbling block to a brother and cause him to fall.