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Misunderstanding His Longsuffering-Part 1

Misunderstanding His Longsuffering-Part 1
Principle of Precedent

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4 (NKJV)

There are many people who distinguish the God they serve by the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Some would say, "I don't believe in the God of the Old Testament.  He was a cruel God of wrath and anger, I choose to serve the God of the New Testament, the one who is full of Love, Grace and mercy."  Well, they are the same God.  I say "they," because there is only 1 true God comprised of 3-distinct parts - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, they are the same God who have always been.

Q:    So, what happened - did God get soft on sin once Jesus came on the scene?

A:    Absolutely not!  The same judgment exists; people just mistake His longsuffering for lenience or apathy.  We can look into the Old Testament as well as the New Testament to see God righteously judging sin immediately. 

In the Old Testament, we see the story of a man named Achan, who coveted and eventually took the spoils of a war victory - spoils explicitly forbidden to be taken by God's orders.  The result was Achan and his family were stoned to death before the community as a righteous judgment (See Joshua 6-7).

In the New Testament we see the story of Ananias and Sapphira selling a piece of land and pretending to give all of the proceeds to the Church.  They lied to the Holy Spirit (God), and again, swift judgment resulting in death was pronounced (See Acts 5:1-11). 

Q:    If these sins still occur, why doesn't God still pronounce judgment immediately?

A:    God's love is amazing, His grace says it all - unmerited favor. 

Truth be told, there are several factors known, and many unknown, which result in God's decisions.  Those known factors are laid out in Scripture, and we are told of what will happen.  In His sovereignty, He is continually working in every situation to give every opportunity for us to learn and repent. 

What we can say with certainty is God is setting a Principle of Precedent. We can clearly see where He is ruling strongly and immediately to show us of the danger of violating sin.  We can see the implications of a persons sinful actions, and derive a poor choice has been made.  The fact we are not judged immediately should never be taken to mean the act is somehow less sinful, or the penalty has been reduced - it has not.  All sin results in death, and the only remedy is to repent and be saved.

I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3 (NKJV)

What we can see happening after these swift judgments is a marked changed in the behavior of people within the Church.  A healthy fear of God brought about a great purity in the church.   People made decisive changes in their actions and the body was healthy as a direct result of God's punishment.  It is the same principle as when we punish our children - they are disciplined, and as a result, they learn and change habits, which would otherwise cause great sorrow throughout their lives. 

In the case of God's judgment upon Ananias and Sapphira's, it caused those who were hypocritical to fear joining the church, and yet the numbers continued to rise of those who were truly seeking the Lord, as God added to the Church those being saved, daily (See Acts 5:11-14).

God has no place for hypocrisy within the Church, and we shouldn't either.  We have been given proper instruction for encouraging, disciplining, exhorting, and admonishing our fellow believers in love (See Matt. 5:23-24; 18:15-20; 2Tim 3:16-17).  Failure to do so would simply shed light on our own hypocrisy in our claims to love others.

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn about Gods longsuffering according to Romans 2:4? 

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you find Gods kindness leading you to repentance?

APPLICATION: Repent of any sin you have, or are presently committing.  Seek God for forgiveness and lay this stronghold down at His feet - He will deliver you.

Father, Thank You for Your longsuffering.  Thank You for Your mercy and Your grace.  Help me to identify every area in my life where I am willfully sinning.  Give me the power to lay these things down and to walk righteously.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000