The Longsuffering Of God

J. D. Conley
November 30, 2014

One of the most astounding attributes of God is His longsuffering. However, it is not one of His eternal attributes as the prefix, "long," implies. Though God is longsuffering, He is not everlasting or perennial in His suffering with man's sinful condition. In the years leading up to the flood, God declared, "My spirit shall not always strive with man...yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Gen. 6:3). Therefore, the Father dismantles the idea that His longsuffering is perpetual. His suffering long with sinful man, His Divine toleration, or as He says, His striving with man, would ultimately come to an end after a hundred and twenty years. A century, plus a score of years, is hardly unending! During this period of Divine patience, Peter states, "...the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah..." (1Pet. 3:20), i.e., God's longsuffering was stayed and remained in effect. His wrath against the ante-diluvians was put on hold as His loving patience was tried. Despite the ugly facts and details recorded in (Gen. 6:5, 12-13), "God waited." Even though God had made up His mind to destroy the world being "grieved at his heart," (Gen. 6:6), He nonetheless waited. He patiently waited for twelve decades! The flood was coming, but it would be a hundred and twenty years before the first raindrops fell.

As God's all-seeing eye peers down from Heaven, what does He see? He sees the furor in Ferguson, MO., and the systemic violence that unjust furor has encouraged. And yet - He waits. He sees the vile atrocity of thousands of abortions everyday. Still - His tearful all-seeing eye waits. He sees the beheading of men, women and children by ISIS. But - He waits. He sees every murder, crime, cruelty, injustice and evil act and thought. His ear is all-hearing. God hears every lie, every filthy word, every His name is spoken in vain, He hears it. Still He suffers long! Why? In order to give every sinful person time to repent, (2Pet. 3:9). But Peter reveals in the next verse this gracious period of time will suddenly end. Most Christians, if it were up to them, would have rung down the curtain on the earthly stage a long time ago. Such a short tempered reaction would've proved we are not like God.

Never mistake God's longsuffering as approval of sin. Don't buy into the story that God's longsuffering, though amazing, will be unending in it's duration. It has a limit. It will end suddenly and without warning. Don't be caught off guard!

"And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation..." (2Pet. 3:15).