Attributes of God - Patience

Attributes of God - Patience

Patience Explained: Mercy looks to creature as miserable & patience as criminal (A.W. Pink)
Q. How does God's patience relate to His Goodness, which we discussed last week?

Mercy, patience, & goodness are closely related.  God is good; thus, He is merciful in         pardoning the sinner & relieving misery & patient in bearing with His evil enemies.
Patience Proclaimed: Psalm 103:8 (c.f. Ex 34:6) - He is slow to anger 
Q. How do we know God is patient?

Scripture tells us God is patient by showing us He is slow to anger.  It is also evidence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us (Gal 5:22).

Patience Manifested: Romans 9:22 by his bearing with vessels of destruction (c.f. Rom 3:25)
Q. How is God's patience ultimately made known to us?

God did not destroy Adam and Eve immediately upon bringing sin into this world, and He has appointed a day when sin will be finally punished.  This bearing with His enemies is not slowness, but is a purposeful manifestation of His patience (Is 52:5 so His name might be known).  He is awaiting the full church (c.f. Rom 11:25).

Patience Manifests: Nehemiah 9:17 It displays His self-control
Q. What do we learn about God if we meditate on His patience?

God had reason to destroy Israel, yet He did not.  He displayed His self-control.  Wrath is an attribute of God, and His patience manifests His self-control of that wrath.  His is not an uncontrollable vengeance, but a purposeful one that will come down on His enemies in all its fury at the great Day of the Lord.

Patience Abused: Eccl. 8:11 Wicked men live in darkness; misunderstand His patience
Q. What does it look like when someone acts arrogantly toward God's patience?

Q. Can a believer take God's patience for granted?

Those living in darkness interpret God's patience to mean He doesn't exist or that He does not punish sin.  This is a grave error.  It is only by God's forbearance or patience (c.f. Rom 3:25) that He passed over sins of His people prior to the death of Christ.  Those living by the light of Christ will see this and repent.  It must be noted, though, that believers can also presume on God's patience toward them.  They must be on guard against this as the Spirit seeks to draw God's people to repentance (c.f. John 16:7-11), but He can be quenched (c.f. 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Patience Communicated: Col 3:12 We are called to put on patience
Q. Is patience a communicable or incommunicable attribute of God?

Theologians speak of communicable and incommunicable attributes.  Communicable attributes are part of the image we bear as opposed to His incommunicable attributes (ex. Self existence, immutability), which we do not share in.  Patience is communicable in that it can be communicated to us.  In other words, we can be patient, but we cannot be self existent.  

God not only allows us to be patient, but expects us to be patient.  We are called to put on patience.  It is something external to us that is given to us when we are transformed into a new creation.

Patience Exemplified: 

    1. I Peter 3:20 God's patience waited on Ark to be built (c.f. Gen 6:5)
    2. Acts 14:16,17 God let nations walk in own ways in times page (c.f. Rom 1:19-26)
    3. Romans 3:25 God did not punish sin prior to Christ

Patience is...
Q. How would you define patience?

Numerous times I have heard something to this affect, "I prayed for patience, and the Lord began teaching me by putting me behind this car driving so slow when I was late to work."  We think of patience as bearing with anything that annoys us or hinders our plans or desires.

Words often change meaning over time or take on greater or less severity with different generations.  It is interesting to compare the entry for patience at www.dictionary.com against the entry in the 1828 edition of Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language.  

Dictionary.com Entry
  1. The quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
  2. An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
  3. Quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence:to work with patience.
1828 Webster's Entry:
  1. The suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness. 
  2.  A calm temper which bears evils without murmuring or discontent.
  3. The act or quality of waiting long for justice or expected good without discontent.

This puts the patience of God in a different light.  he is not simply annoyed by humans. He is not simply confronted with delay either.  God suffers affliction as His beloved creation turns against Him as His enemy and creates toil and calamity of His creation.  He bears with this evil without murmuring, discontent or losing His temper.  He awaits justice at the Day of the Lord.

  1. Ezekiel 33:11 God wishes no one to perish (not even wicked)

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