Can I ask you a question? HOW DOES GOD SHOW HIS PATIENCE?
Today because of the ignorance of God’s hatred of sin, and His nature of holiness, love, almighty power and grace for the Christian, many in the church have no clue of what God’s amazing patience toward them entails.
Here is the truth that many miss, God’s love without failure; compels, pushes, controls, and empowers the narrow road follower of Jesus to walk in righteousness, not live in constant sin. For example, the apostle Paul states, “Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.” [Romans 6:18 (NLT)]
John adds, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” [1 John 3:9 (NKJV)]
But I hear from so many people of the church proclaim the very opposite. They argue for sin in their lives and believe God is forgiving them constantly while in horrible rebellion to Him.
They quote scripture to make it sound okay to sin all the time. They never see the cross as salvation from sin, but only from hell.
But the bottom line is this, God does not tolerate sin in His followers, but instead frees real Christians from living under it’s horrible slavery! Paul writes, “…you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)” Romans 8:9 (NLT)
Olympic athletics are never perfect, but that never stops them from getting as close as they can. No one is perfect, because we all have sinned. But that does not give you a license to practice sin. Only hypocrites do that. There is a big difference between “If you should sin” and when people “keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil…” [1 John 3:8 (NLT)]
Between those two statements is the amazing power of God’s grace. You must fully understand…
God does not tolerate sin, He frees real Christians from living in it!
When we go back to the Old Testament prophet Malachi we find an amazing principle that God shows up when His people sin. He does not stay silent.
Do you remember this statement from the Bible? “You make God tired with all your talk. “How do we tire him out?” you ask. By saying, “God loves sinners and sin alike. God loves all.” And also by saying, “Judgment? God’s too nice to judge.” [Mal 2:17 (MSG)]
Using this statement from God’s Word, what sin would God tolerate in a believer? What sins are free to be lived with so God can show tolerance, patience, or love? Paul says NONE! Let’s read more from the Bible…
“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
5 But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done.”
PLEASE NOTE: [Judgment is given by a Judge who has authority over us to give punishment or reward. Let’s continue]
7 “He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.
9 There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.11 For God does not show favoritism.” [Romans 2:4-11 (NLT)]
The warning from these words proves God’s only kindness was the offer of salvation through the GOOD NEWS! But if refused, anyone who continues to “live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness” will be eternally suffering in hell.
God is tireless in His mercy, and His patience means that He does not destroy people instantly and cast them into HELL! But instead, refrains Himself with great love to allow the lost time to turn from their lives of spiritual crime and REPENT, which means turn from their wickedness to God’s new way of life, by actually FOLLOWING CHRIST as a true disciple of obedience.
Our God kept His covenant with Abraham and patiently dealt with the Jews. Pay attention to the following scripture and see how God showed His patience. “Yet for many years You had patience with them, And testified against them by Your Spirit in Your prophets. Yet they would not listen; Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. 31 Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; For You are God, gracious and merciful. [Neh 9:30-31 (NKJV)]
As you see, the LORD did not sit back and tolerate sin but showed His patience by first sending preachers to call them to repentance. But when they refused to obey, He sent nations to overthrow their safe lives, enslave them and kill some. AND NOTE, this is called mercy, BECAUSE HE DID NOT UTTERLY DESTROY THEM!
YOU MUST ONCE AND FOR ALL UNDERSTAND GOD’S GRACE
But you must understand Christians have a different relationship with God then the world, the Old Testament saints and the Jews had with Him. In Christ, we are born again! So Paul can say these words with great joy.
“For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us…” [2 Cor 5:14 (AMP)]
The King James version uses the word “Contrains” = from <G4862> (sun) and <G2192> (echo); to hold together, i.e. to compress (the ears, with a crowd or siege) or arrest (a prisoner); figurative to compel, perplex, afflict, preoccupy :- constrain, hold, keep in, press, lie sick of, stop, be in a strait, straiten, be taken with, throng. —Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary
So this means that the Holy Spirit so loves the Christian, that He controls the true born again saint with floods and floods of grace that drive, force, push, empower, strengthen, and straighten out their life to live holy and righteous. Just like a parent will not let their little child run out into traffic, God’s fatherly love will not let you out of His sight. He pursues and protects you from living in sin.
He works on Christians like he did with Israel, but with one MAJOR exception.
He promised Israel the day would come when He would miraculously alter His people to free them from the slavery to sin. Ezekiel proclaimed,“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and YOU WILL KEEP MY JUDGMENTS AND DO THEM.” [Ezek 36:26-27 (NKJV)]
2000 years ago God fulfilled this through the cross and the miracle of being born again. Today true Christians still have this reality!
He miraculously changes the true Christian believer by His grace and you live in obedience. This is why Paul clearly explains the grace from God’s Holy Spirit inside the born again Christian. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” [Phil 2:13 (NLT)]
Let’s read from the book of Hebrews. “After all, your fight against sin has not yet meant the shedding of blood, and you have perhaps lost sight of that piece of advice which reminds you of our sonship in God: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by him; for whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives’.”
“7-9 Bear what you have to bear as “chastening” – as God’s dealing with you as sons. No true son ever grows up uncorrected by his father. For if you had no experience of the correction which all sons have to bear you might well doubt the legitimacy of your sonship. After all, when we were children we had fathers who corrected us, and we respected them for it. Can we not much more readily submit to a heavenly Father’s discipline, and learn how to live?”
“10-13 For our fathers used to correct us according to their own ideas during the brief days of childhood. But God corrects us all our days for our own benefit, to teach us his holiness.”
“Now obviously no “chastening” seems pleasant at the time: it is in fact most unpleasant. Yet when it is all over we can see that it has quietly produced the fruit of real goodness in the characters of those who have accepted it in the right spirit. So take a fresh grip on life and brace your trembling limbs. Don’t wander away from the path but forge steadily onward. On the right path the limping foot recovers strength and does not collapse.” [Heb 12:4-10 (Phillips NT)]
Immature saints, like little kids, need a lot of correction and discipline. God patiently grabs a hold of the new Christian and carries him through the fight against living in sin. “While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. 11 At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.” [Heb 12:11 (MSG)]
Once you are well trained, a mature believer, just like a mature adult in human terms, you are not always fighting sin, but walking in obedience. There is an end to the endless battles because the Holy Spirit is put inside you to “cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” The fruit of the Spirit is “peace”!
Do you think God treats local churches differently than the ancient Jews? Try reading Revelation 2 and 3 and put the name of your church at the beginning of each spiritual evaluation letter that Christ sent to those seven churches. It will wake you up.
“Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].” [Rev 3:19 (AMP)]
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” [Rev 3:19 (NKJV)]
If you study Revelation 2 and 3 you will see Christ telling church after church: shape up, repent, or else! He will not allow sin in His people. And if He warns them that he will abandon them, then it proves they were a church in name only, but in truth, they were lost without salvation.
tell (one’s) fault 1
[Total Count: 17]
of uncertain affinity; to confute, admonish :- convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove. —Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary
And understand the word CHASTEN = PUNISH YOU Chasten, Chastening, Chastise, Chastisement, Instruct, Instruction, Instructor—Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary
from <G3816> (pais); to train up a child, i.e. educate, or (by implication) discipline (by punishment) :- chasten (-ise), instruct, learn, teach. —Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary
He promises to keep Christians in freedom with rebukes and chastening. The Bible states, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” [Romans 8:28 (NLT)]
Yes God has His hand constantly on His people, blessing, rebuking, correcting, and training every minute of every day. Paul was convinced “that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)
Our Lord is making us like Jesus! His plan is always to mature us to be in the image of Christ. You cannot stay in rebellion and sin all your Christian life. You cannot block His hand of love if you are born again! His grace causes deep real change inside every real believer.
Never forget these words from the Lord Jesus. “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” [Matt 7:21-23 (NLT)]
If this describes you, I beg you to wake up and cry out for forgiveness right now!
ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE THAT THE LORD’S PATIENCE IS PERSISTENT CORRECTION
Paul explains to the new church at Corinth the seriousness of sin while gathered together for communion. He says, “Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master irreverently is like part of the crowd that jeered and spit on him at his death. Is that the kind of “remembrance” you want to be part of? 28 Examine your motives, test your heart, come to this meal in holy awe.
29 If you give no thought (or worse, don’t care) about the broken body of the Master when you eat and drink, you’re running the risk of serious consequences. 30 That’s why so many of you even now are listless and sick, and others have gone to an early grave. 31 If we get this straight now, we won’t have to be straightened out later on. 32 Better to be confronted by the Master now than to face a fiery confrontation later.” [1 Cor 11:27-32 (MSG)]
The Lord does not sit back in “patience” and allow us room to sin [see verse 30 above].
DON’T WAIT FOR GOD TO ACT IN SOME OBSCURE WAY, HE ALREADY ORDERED THE CHURCH TO ACT ON HIS BEHALF!!! THE LORD DEMANDS THAT THE CHURCH QUICKLY ACT TO CORRECT A SINFUL MEMBER, NOT SIT BY AND TOLERATE THEM WITH LOVE.
“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles–that a man has his father’s wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.”
“For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus…”
“In my previous letter I said, “Don’t mix with the immoral.” I didn’t mean, of course, that you were to have no contact at all with the immoral of this world, nor with any cheats or thieves or idolaters – for that would mean going out of the world altogether!”
“But in this letter I tell you not to associate with any professing Christian who is known to be an impure man or a swindler, an idolater, a man with a foul tongue, a drunkard or a thief. My instruction is: ‘Don’t even eat with such a man.'”
“Those outside the church it is not my business to judge. but surely it is your business to judge those who are inside the church – God alone can judge those who are outside. It is your plain duty to ‘put away from yourselves that wicked person’.” [1 Cor 5:1-5 (NKJV) 1 Cor 5:9-13 (Phillips NT)]
Now we need to clarify the whole idea of judging. Our culture screams you cannot judge which it gives them the freedom to make excuses for their sin. So let’s make this clear.
To judge means to act in punishment NOT just discern or agree with God that someone is sinning against God.
[bctt tweet=”To judge means to act in punishment NOT just discern or agree with God that someone is sinning against God.” username=”RandyMBell”]
Instead, we the church are ordered to not sit quietly by while a church member is sinning, but the leadership of the church is to rise up, verify the truth, and if this person is sinning – rebuke them, and if they will not repent, throw them out of all church gatherings.
God demands that we take swift action and JUDGE, that judgment being, removing them from all church gatherings and not even personally go to lunch with them.
And God demands that we take swift action and JUDGE a Christian. God is the one who gives the Christians the authority to judge fellow believers when needed. Americans hate this! But this is His way of quickly correcting and purifying the church, just like God gives the government the authority to judge criminals (Romans 13).
If we do not act as God’s hands of punishment, we are puffed up, which means, proud and arrogant, by claiming superiority to God Almighty and deciding whether we are to obey Him or not. Or so proud we dare to think that we are more loving than God.
You must remember that God the Father, corrects his children for doing wrong, and the church is His hands, just like government is His hands [Romans 13] for punishing the criminals in our nation, and parents are His hands for punishing their children [Ephesians].
The Lord demands swift justice and wants swift punishment. If the church is so fearful of obeying God because members will quit and just go to a different church that welcomes them, they have disobeyed God. Please God, not man!
1/ When we sin, the Holy Spirit dwelling in us uses His grace to pump strong desires in us to repent and releases the needed strength to fulfill His will, so this immediately fires up our conscience with conviction and guilt… [Phil 2:13]
2/ If we do not listen, which means confess and clear our conscience, we resist God’s grace and a root of bitterness starts in us. [Heb 12:15] Paul warns in 1 Timothy this will shipwreck our faith when we do not clear our conscience. He says, “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” [1 Tim 1:19] The evidence of shipwreck is quickly experienced. Our relationships quickly sink and become tense with unforgiving attitudes festering through bitterness. So our Father begins using His Word to convict us, plus shuts down all peace within and out. “And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts.” [Colossians 3:15] And with people, “When people’s lives please the LORD, even their enemies are at peace with them” …. [Prov 16:7]
3/ If we do not listen, He sends His preachers with messages to convict and turn us back to Him… Preach the word of God. “Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” [2 Tim 4:2]
4/ If we harden our hearts and do not listen, physical issues as mentioned in 1 Corinthians, listlessness and sickness by taking communion without honoring the body through confessing sin begin…
5/ If we still make excuses and still do not listen, He sends our authorities [as mentioned in Hebrews] to scourge and punish us [like parents to children] and to pressure us to wake up. They will react to the symptoms of our rebellion, the sins which pour out of our new attitudes and actions poisoned by bitterness. Consequences may include one or more of the following: being removed from our local church, conflict, and punishment by our parents, strong opposition and conflict with our spouse, and governmental or job-related conflicts.
6/ If we still stubbornly refuse to listen, Jesus warned God would turn us over to Satan [the Matthew 18 effect], and Paul agreed and ordered the church to turn the unrepentant over to Satan, which means the tormentors from hell will be unleashed to torment us until we repent.
7/ But if you still do not repent…Paul stated in 1 Corinthians some even died early because of their strong rebellious disregard for the cross of Christ!
This is God’s words of warning NOT my ideas. BUT again I remind you, if you see God is distant, leaving you alone, with no guilt or consequences for your sin, YOU ARE LOST AND YOUR TIME WILL COME ON JUDGMENT DAY because Christ scourges everyone He loves!
REFUSING TO REPENT AFTER A SHORT TIME LEAVES EVIDENCE OF BEING A FALSE CHRISTIAN
In First Corinthians, Paul strongly rebuked the church at Corinth for having such immorality being lived out right inside their fellowship that even the pagan Romans would not allow it. He demanded that they confront the church member, demand repentance and if he would not change to remove him from the church.
Paul shows us that God has patience for his people, but not for sin. He expected a swift response by the followers of Jesus when sin was exposed.
About a year or so he wrote a second letter to them, “This third time I am really coming to you in person. Remember the ancient law: ‘By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established’. 2-4 My previous warning, given on my second visit, still stands and, though absent, I repeat it now as though I were present – my coming will not mean leniency for those who had sinned before that visit and those who have sinned since.” [2 Cor 13:1-4 (Phillips NT)]
If the guilty party refused to respond he would question their eternal life. So he pressed them “…Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” [2 Cor 13:5 (NLT)]
I know this is not what our culture has trained you to think like, but narrow road followers of Jesus, leave the world culture and live by the direction and culture of God’s Word. We are a counter-cultural community inside this world we live in.
Are you patient with sin, or patient like God calls us to be, patiently pursuing God and loving your Christian brothers enough to help them live like Jesus? It is a tough and tender road of obedience.