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God’s Patience Leads Us to Repentance

Devotions

“The Savior Is Waiting” by Ralph Carmichael is a famous gospel song and hymn of invitation.

“If you’ll take one step toward the Savior, my friend,
You’ll find His arms open wide.
Receive Him and all of your darkness will end;
Within your heart He’ll abide.
Time after time He has waited before,
And now He is waiting again
To see if you’re willing to open the door—O how He wants to come in.”

How amazing that the Son of God Himself “waits”! As we saw yesterday, God’s waiting is not exactly the same as ours; all that happens is His plan, not ours. But in another sense, His patience is a model for our patience and waiting, because God’s desires should be our desires. What God desires is repentance, what He offers is grace. 

Those who reject grace can expect only judgment. Unlike human judgment, which is flawed and hypocritical, divine judgment is consistent and truthful (vv. 1–3; see Matt. 7:1–2). That God’s judgment is delayed does not mean it has been escaped. No evasion or deception could do that. To even think that God will not hold sinners to account is to “show contempt for the riches of his kindness” (v. 4). The only reason that they’re not immediately judged is that God is patient. In His forbearance (also called “longsuffering”), He is waiting so that His love can lead more people to repentance.

Paul was writing here to moralists, that is, people who do their best and assume it will be good enough to get to heaven. But they’re wrong (v. 5). God will judge based on actions, but no one’s actions are good enough (vv. 6, 8). The only way to live as described in verse 7 is by faith!

Apply the Word

Paul described his testimony as an example of Christ’s “immense patience” (see 1 Tim. 1:16). Sharing your testimony—the story of how you came to faith—is a great way to share the good news of salvation. Are you prepared and looking for opportunities to share your story in ways that make the gospel clear and show God’s patient love? 

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer or editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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