God is Patient

“No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction.”
Romans 9:20-22 NLT

Paul highlights in his letter the reality, the truth, that God is very patient with everyone, even those who deserve an immediate response to their wickedness. We often joke about standing away from a person who has uttered a blasphemy, or stated something scandalously evil, just in case a lightning bolt from Heaven zaps them on the spot, turning them into toast. But the reality is that God is patient and doesn’t respond immediately with any form of judgement. However, everything we ever do is saved up in books, to be opened some time in the future. In Revelation 20:12, we read, “I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books”. 

Miscarriages of justice are depressingly common. Not, I should add, just for those who are wrongly convicted of a crime, but for the multitude of those who commit crimes and then get away with it, because they are not caught by the police. Many others fail to account for their misdemeanours because there is insufficient evidence to convict them. We humans want to see justice done in our lifetimes, not having to wait for God’s Great White Throne. But God is patient because He knows that He has plenty of time. While a person is alive they have the opportunity to repent of their sins. Should they refuse then on the coming Judgement Day He will remind them of this fact. No-one will ever get away with their sins.

There is much going on in this world that causes God to get angry. The early Israelites made God very angry through their rebellion and sins. Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 9:8, “Even at Mount Sinai you made the Lord so angry he was ready to destroy you”. Moses was up the mountain receiving God’s commandments written onto tablets of stone but the Israelites were having a right old party down below, with a golden calf to dance around. God said to Moses, “ … I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Leave me alone so I may destroy them and erase their name from under heaven. Then I will make a mighty nation of your descendants, a nation larger and more powerful than they are” (Deuteronomy 9:13-14). I’m sure there is much about what we do and say that makes God angry. He will be patient while we are alive, but after death there is no escape from the consequences of our sin.

I have heard many times people say to me that they are a good person, and God will never send them to hell. They claim to be good because they give to charity, or live a life free of crime and even motoring offences. There is a Scottish saying about a person, that there is not a bad bone in their body. But God sees differently. Our bar for judging someone, especially ourselves, is quite low. But God’s bar is so high that no-one can possibly achieve a state where they will be considered “not guilty” just by their own efforts. Paul wrote in Romans 3:23, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard”. There is an analogy, that if the pass mark for an exam is 50%, and one person gets 49% and another gets 35%, then they both fail. The person with the higher mark cannot claim that they have passed the exam. In life, we spend our time in accruing marks on a Heavenly exam paper. Sadly, it’s an exam that no-one can pass in their own strength.

But there is Good News! We read in Romans 3:24-26, “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus”. Such love! Such grace! How can we ever thank Jesus enough for what He did for us. 

Dear Lord Jesus. Once again we thank You for what You did for mankind at the Cross of Calvary. We worship You today. Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s