The patience of God has to do with mercy, and it is essential for the salvation of sinners. Peter wrote, “consider the patience of the Lord to be salvation.” (2 Peter 3:9,15). God was, and is, patient to bring about salvation for all who believe in His Son, Jesus. When Paul, the “chief of sinners”, spoke of his own salvation, He said it was the demonstration of God’s “perfect patience” (1 Timothy 1:16). Every man and woman should be thankful to God that He was patient to give them a chance to repent and obey the Gospel in baptism (Romans 6:3-5; Colosssians 2:12).
God gives people time if it means that they will be saved. In Jesus’ message to Thyatira, He says He gave “Jezebel” time, but she does not want to repent (Revelation 2:20-22). Apparently, “Jezebel” was a member of the church whose time to repent had ran out. There is a limit to God’s patience. God’s patience waited during the days of Noah, and then it ran out when the rains came. Because this is true, there is a sense of urgency to be saved as soon as possible. No one should test the patience of God. Anyone who knows of their sin and believes in Christ, should gladly repent and turn to Him.
God is patient with everyone, even pagan nations. God does not show favorites. God told Abraham he could not yet have the land of the Amorites because their sin was not yet full (Genesis 15:16). It would be another 400 years before the judgment of God would come down on them. God’s dealings with the city of Nineveh is another example of His patience. He gave Nineveh time to respond unto the preaching of Jonah and the city repented. When the city turned to God, Jonah was upset that Israel’s enemy would not be destroyed. Complaining about the reprieve by God, he said, “…I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.” Even today, He desires that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). It is exactly because of God’s patience and kindness that men turn to the Lord (Rom. 2:4).
Patience and Baptism. Peter wrote that “the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark…” (1 Peter 3:20). There was a sense of urgency to repent and obey God by getting into the ark. Interestingly, Peter wrote that the family of Noah was brought safely through water AND that baptism corresponds to that! If we believe in the grace of God, then we ought to be baptized because it is where God saves through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The act of Baptism is an act of faith whereby the sinner appeals to God for a clean conscience (1 Peter 3:20,21). All through the New Testament there is the sense of urgency to be baptized.
On Pentecost, when the audience was already asking about salvation, Luke records,
“And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation!’ So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41,42).
Again, the exhortation to “be saved” was immediately followed with baptism. The Philippian jailer and his believing family were baptized the same hour they believed (Acts 16:33). And baptism was connected to Saul’s conversion. In Acts 22, when Ananias said to Saul (later to be called Paul), “now why do you delay, arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16), Ananias indicated a sense of urgency in responding to the message with baptism. Don’t delay in responding to the Gospel because God is patiently waiting to see you be saved.
What a great God we have. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. His patience is a cause for praising Him. Without the patience of God, there would be no good news in the Gospel. If you believe in Jesus Christ and are willing to follow Him, then do not delay: repent of sin and be immersed into Christ. God is patiently waiting for you.
And how about us, are we patient with others? The Old Testament describes our God as, “…merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,” (Ex. 34:6). God’s salvation is about patience, grace, and mercy. If we do not have patience with others, do we love as God does? If we are patient with others, it means we are willing to give another person the time to grow even when we are wronged. Paul said to Timothy that the bond-servant of God must be “kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged” (2 Tim. 2:24). Paul said to the Thessalonians to be “patient with everyone” (1 Thess. 5:14). Paul wrote to the Corinthians that “…love is patient, love is kind…” (1 Cor. 13:4). Christians are patient with others because God is patient with them, and they learn to exercise the same grace toward others. It also means they trust that the Lord’s will will be done.
Repentance is real change beyond believing only