God’s Longsuffering Means Salvation

 

“The lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” – (2 Pet.3:9,15).

 

Often during the last 33 years since I got saved, I’ve wondered why God hasn’t brought down his righteous judgment on America. When I saw this nation becoming more and more ungodly, even flaunting sodomy in the face of God, knowing God’s fiery judgment upon Sodom for that wicked sin, I thought, “Why hasn’t God judged U.S. of our sins and vindicated His Word?” But I didn’t know God’s Word as I should have. I now know that if we don’t repent of our wicked ways, we haven’t escaped His judgment, it has only been delayed because of His great love and His mercy and grace. His judgment has not fallen upon U.S. solely because of the longsuffering of God in His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. When you think about God’s longsuffering consider the suffering of His beloved Son – then you’ll begin to understand.

 

One important part of God’s love towards sinners is that he is longsuffering. Jesus Christ suffered for our sins when he shed his blood on the cross and for 2000 years our heavenly Father has been longsuffering to us, not willing that any should go to hell but that all should come to repentance and be saved. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” – (I Pet.3:18). The longsuffering of God waits with patience for people to receive His beloved Son who ‘suffered for sins’, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God and be saved. The longsuffering of God is bound up in the suffering of His Son on the cross for sin. The suffering of His Son as savior of the world must not be taken lightly but must be given the fullest possible time to save all of God’s elect. But sinners shall not escape God’s judgment. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;” (Heb.2:3).

 

Longsuffering keeps the Lord Jesus from coming. He is bearing with men. We think that we do well to be angry with the sinner, so we become more like Jonah than Jesus. We need to be patient and compassionate for the ungodly. Some manifest the longsuffering of God in the number of years in which they have been spared to sin. They have provoked God for 70-80-90 years – a lifetime. Yet even in their last days in a rest home a preacher comes by and preaches the saving gospel of Christ one last time. The longsuffering of God spares sinners. It’s part of His love that delays punishment of men so they may be saved.

 

But many of the ungodly misuse the longsuffering of God as a reason for greater sin and as a motive for denying that there is a God at all. Because God gives them space for repentance, they make it into space for iniquity. And because God doesn’t judge them speedily they say, “Where is the promises of his coming?” Longsuffering has its’ end, but for now God pauses in grace and mercy not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance and be saved. But let not any man infer form God’s longsuffering that he has given anyone a license to sin. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” – (Ecc.8:11).

 

We must never assume that because God is merciful and gracious and longsuffering, He will excuse sin and unbelief and suspend forever His divine justice. It’s important to remember that He has also told us – “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” – (2 Cor.6:2). Let us always remember that the longsuffering of God means salvation and towards that we should aim. It gives us the right balance in our preaching in these end days.

 

It is written in (I Pet.3:20) “Which sometime were disobedient when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a –preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” For 120 years Noah, a preacher of righteousness, had preached the Word of God. In 120 years, he saved his family but no one else, yet God never thought he failed as a preacher. God’s longsuffering lasted for 120 years before His watery judgment fell and the world ended. God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water, the fire next time. We are living in the same time frame as Noah, just before the fiery judgment of God falls upon a wicked world. After Peter tells us in (2 Pet.3:9) about God’s longsuffering he says in (vs.10) “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night: in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” You and I are living in a world which is moving toward judgment just like Noah’s day, only it’s by fire.

 

There are many preachers preaching prophecy and the end times today, and rightfully so. But the vast majority have lost their balance in their preaching and neglect to preach salvation in Christ. No true preacher of God should ever neglect the gospel of Christ in his preaching because this is the heart of the New Testament. I’ve seen preaching on the web by prophetic preachers who preach many thousands of words and fail to preach salvation in Christ hardly at all. Even though we believe we are at the end of the day of God’s grace, we should never quit preaching the saving gospel of Christ. Surely we can do both. We must never desire to have the wrath of God to fall rather than the salvation of souls. We must always account that the longsuffering of our Lord means salvation and our emphasis should be on the cross of Christ, while not neglecting preaching on prophecy and the end days – Amen.

 

We must be careful that we not accuse God in being slack concerning His promise of the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. In God’s due time, when His longsuffering has been filled up, His judgment will come. God has no delight in the death of sinners in the lake of fire. A merciful and loving God takes no pleasure in judgment but takes pleasure in people being saved by His Son. Abuse not therefore the patience and longsuffering of God and reject Christ and being saved and go on in an ungodly manner. Don’t go on boldly in your sinful ways and say – ‘My Lord delayeth his coming’ – (Mt.24:48), lest he come and surprise you. For the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. Though the longsuffering of God waits long upon sinners, yet it will expire at last. Our God is not a slacker but a lover. I’m glad my God is a long sufferer and not a short sufferer with a short fuse like most of us.

 

(Rom.2:4) says – “Or despiseth thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering: not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” The goodness of God and his longsuffering ought to lead you to repentance and salvation in Christ. Do not despise the riches of God’s goodness and longsuffering. If you’re not saved, why not repent of your sins and call upon the Lord Jesus because of His good ness? Do not force God to deal with you in severity and judgment. God revealed to Moses on Mt. Sin-I in (Ex.33:6,7) “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.” God is good. But if you reject God’s goodness in His beloved Son, God’s judgment will fall surely upon you. For centuries He was longsuffering with sinful Israel before His wrath fell.

 

The Lord’s wrath is not inflicted impulsively. Rather, the Bible shows that God exercises much longsuffering towards those deserving of punishment – “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” – (Rom.9:22). The Lord was even longsuffering with vile Ahab – (I Kings 21:29). The apostle Paul was given time to be saved, despite the fact the he was ‘chief of sinners’ who persecuted and murdered the saints of God – “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” – (I Tim.1:16). Paul was God’s pattern to show forth His longsuffering of sinners for salvation. Potential for salvation rests in God’s longsuffering. Each of us who are saved is a testimony to God’s longsuffering.

 

If God had been a man, He would have wiped out His world a second time a long time ago. But God has that longsuffering which bears with all our sinning and who will not cast us off shortly – (He is longsuffering, not short suffering.) God’s longsuffering is balanced by His perfect justice. Unforgiving sins will be punished, but God’s longsuffering allows time for repentance. “And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he many have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him” – (Is.30:18). God’s generous longsuffering should motivate us to obey Him and be saved. Also God is in no hurry to destroy His beautiful earth that He created with great tribulation plagues.

 

Longsuffering is God’s divine power of control over Himself, causing Him to bear with the wicked so long before punishing them. God doesn’t immediately avenge Himself. He has the power of self in His longsuffering as well as the power of justice. He is a king that can bridle His passions over himself as well as His subjects.

 

Godly longsuffering is a fruit of the spirit to be cultivated by every true Christian (Gal.5:22). Also in (Col.3:12) “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, and longsuffering.” And every preacher must take heed to (2 Tim.4:2) “Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” Our rallying cry is to ‘Preach the word’ straight and true – reprove, rebuke, exhort – but we must do it with longsuffering which flows from a heart of love. It’s told to us again in (I Cor.13:4) “Charity suffereth long, as is kind.” Without love our preaching is nothing.

 

May our meditation on God’s longsuffering make our consciences tender and soften our hearts towards sinners, and continue to preach the wrath of God also. God’s longsuffering means salvation in His Son. The longsuffering of God is bound up in the suffering of His Son on the cross. Praise the Lord, God is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and be saved. Have you done that? Now while His longsuffering continues, be saved today. Repent of your sins and turn to Christ for salvation.

 

GOD’S LONGSUFFERING MEANS SALVATION IN HIS SUFFERING SON

 


Pastor Mike Storti

5000 N. LaCholla- Lot 76

Tucson, AZ 85705

Email: BibleWatchman@aol.com

Website: BibleWatchman.com