“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
~2 Peter 3:9 (NIV).
The Great Promise of the Christian dream is yet to come; sure, Jesus came and he lived with us some two thousand years ago, but it’s the Parousia (the [second] coming of Jesus) that many well-schooled Christians hold out hope for, especially in these days. No, the latter part of statement would be false... in all ages humanity has groaned for the completion of God’s redemptive work (see Romans 8:18-25).
There is a lot we can learn about regarding the patience of the Lord from the context of the Parousia.
God’s Timeframe and Ours
We can hardly consider this because it is so divergent. Our patience is tested in a flash; but God’s patience is eternal.
We want God’s will to be in our favour and for it to be done ‘right here, right now,’ and, still, Jesus is not found giving us our way beyond his true will for our lives. God’s frame on such things as our infernal immaturity to ‘want’ is truly remarkable; God still loves us despite how childish we can be at times.
Jesus’ Patience with the Disciples and Us
Jesus is heard to repeat himself many times as we read the gospel accounts, and we’re certainly given the impression that the disciples are a bit thick. There is no real difference between them and us in all reality—we’re all a bit slow on the uptake with God.
And, yet, Jesus is never found to be giving up on them, and neither does he give up on us. Ever.
Jesus Equals Perfect Patience
Jesus is described as ‘perfect patience’ by the early Church Father, Cyprian of Carthage. In this, Cyprian is probably referring to the interminable grace of God in this Saviour, who reveals the grace of eternity.
Whenever we think God has lost patience with us, we quickly and sharply remind ourselves that God’s patience for the saved is endless, and for the unsaved it is endless until the end of the physical life—both of these concepts show God’s patience in two quite divergent senses... the patience of God in discipleship (the former) and the patience of God in Judgment (the latter).
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
(This was the final article of a five-part series to look at the ‘clothing of love’ so far as Jesus is concerned out of Colossians 3:12-14. The first was on Jesus’ compassion and the second was on Jesus’ kindness. The third focused on Jesus’ humility. The most recent and fourth article was on Jesus’ gentleness.)