God's Forbearance

J. D. Conley
October 25, 2015

The one true living God is a God of forbearance, meaning He is long-suffering, patient and tolerant with sinful man. A most emphatic passage of Holy Scripture declaring God’s forbearance, is Psalm 103:8-14, where we are told, "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear hinu For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust" No other section of Sacred Writ could be set forth that more strongly proclaims God's forbearance, than these seven sweet verses.

Delightful is the thought that we serve such a patient and understanding God! He not only extends mercy, He delights in His extension of it, (Micah 7:18)! He doesn’t begrudge us mercy and furthermore, His mercy is vast and inexhaustible. Due to our sins, although God would be justified in a constant reprimanding of us, He chooses not to do so. Though He becomes angry, He does not stay angry. Nor has He given us what we deserve because of our long incessant series of sins, had He, we wouldn't draw breath. If this description of God’s mercy ended at verse 10, it would be grand enough.

But not only has God declared to us His magnificent mercy, the psalmist then proceeds to show how great and how loving His mercy truly is. It is great in its scope, as far as heaven is above the earth, and as far as the east is from the west. In other words, there is no termination point to God’s mercy, there is no end to it, (Ps.136). Divine forbearance and mercy result in a complete removal of our sins. Our sinful record has been wiped clean, expunged, utterly obliterated, by our loving Father. He pities our sinful state and our tendency to sin, and is mindful of our feeble and transient condition.

Yet, as wonderful as God is in His mercy, patience and forbearance, we must not lose sight of His justice. Though His justice is tempered with mercy, (Jeremiah 10:24), His justice will be meted out, (Romans 11:22). May we learn to show mercy to others in the way God has shown mercy to us, keeping in mind these words, "For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment" (Jas.2:13).