Does God’s patience have limits?
Pastor Mark Jeske
As a father to my kids, I am a mixture of attributes. I am partly stern, partly easygoing. I am partly demanding, partly forgiving, partly insistent, and partly tolerant.
It would be a mistake to project our mind-set onto God. The Bible describes a God who both punishes sin and forgives sin. But he’s not half-and-half. He’s 100 percent of both (at the same time!). Is he patient? You bet. But there are limits to his patience: “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 7:13). Does his willingness to judge and punish negate the gospel’s good news? Not at all.
It’s a paradox. Scripture’s descriptions of God exist not so much for you to understand as to believe. The extreme proclamations of God’s law, such as the prophet Zechariah’s above, are to teach us humility and respect in his presence. Don’t push him off till later. There may be no later for you.
But God’s precious gospel message is extreme too. God laid on the back of his Son, Jesus, all his anger and punished him in full for all our sins. His mercy is far greater than all our sinful failings. So how do you know which applies to you? The key is repentance. When you approach the Father with a repentant heart, honestly aware of and ashamed of your inner evil but also trusting in your Savior Jesus, you will always find a smiling face on your Father.
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