Several people have written us in our AskMark page asking if we believe this current crisis is God’s judgment for the increasing evil in our nation. Mark responds with insight into judgment and God’s patience.
I greatly appreciate your questions, especially at this trying time in our current (and temporary) situation. I grieve over our lack of understanding, as believers, of God’s great patience and the purpose of it. How quick we are to look at troubling circumstances as God’s punishment for evil, even hope for it. The early church went through far, far worst circumstances under the iron-fisted rule of Rome and some believed that God was “late” in sending His judgment upon the evil empire.
Peter wrote to correct their view of judgment and patience:
2 Peter 3:3-4- First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."
Peter goes on to explain the reason for God’s patience:
2 Peter 3:8-9- 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. 9 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. NIV
2 Peter 3:15-16- Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. NIV
What did Paul write about the very important purpose the patience of God?
-Giving more people a chance to come to salvation!
At the end of Romans 1, Paul writes about people who do the most terrible things:
Rom 1:32- Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
And yet, in the very next verse, he warns us that we make a terrible mistake when we “pass judgment” or want judgment to come on them…because God chooses patience!
2:1- You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? NIV
Paul tells us God’s UNLIMITED PATIENCE is to be an EXAMPLE TO US!
1 Tim 1:16-17- But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. NIV
Why are we so hungry for judgment when God wants more to see His goodness?
Shouldn’t we be grateful for God’s patience and pray for the “salvation of many”?
Mark Drake is an internationally known author, teacher and leader. He focuses on equipping leaders around the world in New Covenant Grace.