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. ~2 Peter 3:9
This morning, we are considering one of the great promises of the Bible. Bible promises are also Bible truths and absolutes. It is the promise that God is longsuffering; that is, He is incredibly patient towards the entire human race, so that all would hear the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved. Let us consider the truths contained in this verse.
There is the meaning in longsuffering.
Longsuffering means to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and trouble from others. It means being patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others. It is being slow to anger and slow to punish. It has the idea of a judge who has the responsibility of executing justice but is very slow in assigning the punishment, hoping that the one accused makes amends with the one whom the injustice has been committed against. God is very patient with every sinner. He could assign every sinner to His condemnation immediately, but, instead, desires that every sinner would repent of his sin and come to Him.
There is the means in longsuffering.
God withholds His sovereign punishment by giving every sinner an opportunity to hear the gospel. God uses the power of His Word through preaching. God uses the obedience of soulwinners. God uses the means of a printed tract. God uses the influence of a Christian’s testimony among his acquaintances. I am thinking recently of some Christians in my church who asked me to help them reach out to one of their neighbors who was diagnosed with a serious illness. The loving and concerned influence of our church members resulted in the salvation of several adults.
There is the marvel in longsuffering.
God is the God of the second, third, and many more chances. He does not give up on any sinner. There is no sinner too hard or too stubborn that cannot be saved. God continues to demonstrate grace by giving every sinner many opportunities to be saved. If it were left to us, we would write the sinner off. However, God extends His love all the time. God will save at the eleventh hour. I am thinking of my grandmother whom I witnessed to for over forty years, and she would say, “I am a good person and I do not need your offer.” At age 100 and after suffering a massive stroke, I am thankful that she accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior and is in the presence of the Lord.
There is the motivation in longsuffering.
The fact that God is "longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" should instill a deep desire in our hearts to win the lost. As long as a window of opportunity is with us, we need to do what we can in reaching the lost with the saving gospel. Don’t quit on your unsaved family members. Don’t miss out on soulwinning opportunities. Take advantage of church outreach programs. Do all you can when you can to touch lives so that they might be saved.
Let’s get people to the Lord. Let’s touch lives. Let’s keep a soulwinner’s heart.
Have a compassionate God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Numbers 35-36