Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

God's Patience

“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time . . . Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.” Genesis 6:5, 11, 12 (NIV)

This was the state of man before the flood.

“Then he said, ‘May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?’ He answered, ‘For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.’” Genesis 18:32 (NIV)

Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared for ten righteous people.

“Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city. Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ still they are swearing falsely.” Jeremiah 5:1-2 (NIV)

If there had been one righteous person, Jerusalem would have been spared in 587 BC. In the past, the percentage of righteous people did not have to be very high in order to withhold the physical judgement of God.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 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. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.” 2 Peter 3:8-11 (NIV)

In the future, there seems to be a different standard for withholding spiritual judgement. It is the patience of God. It is not a minimum, it is now a maximum (everyone). God’s patience is exercised because he wants everyone to come to repentance.

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