Summary: How Should We Respond to God’s Long-Suffering(Rom. 2:4-6)
How Should We Respond to God’s Long-Suffering (Rom. 2:4-6)
Illustration:The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique. The winner was not the runner who finished first. It was the runner who finished with his torch still lit. I want to run all the way with the flame of my torch still lit for Him.
J. Stowell, Fan The Flame, Moody, 1986, p. 32
1. Have you ever thought about what our proper response should be to the long-suffering of God?
There are grave consequences for failing to properly understand and respond to God’s great patience.
There is a limit to God’s patience.
Many consciously or unconsciously abuse, neglect or fail to try to understand the purposes of God’s forbearance.
Paul teaches us in this passage how to be grateful for the long-suffering of God toward us so that we do not always presume upon it.
Many who take God’s patience and kindness for granted fail to appreciate the rich reservoir of His grace in all aspects of our lives.
Some of the most empty, mis-directed and unhappy people are those who fail to respond in obedience to our most benevolent Creator.
The great apostle teaches us how to believe that God’s patience can work in harmony with His righteousness.
Paul shows us how to submit to God’s purposes, plans and processes as a way of showing gratefulness for His kindness.
Thirdly, Paul urges us to act upon His gracious patience as an opportunity to correct, reform and reinvigorate our commitment.
Ask the Lord to help you teach others how to increase their faith, understanding and commitment to our patient God.
2. Paul teaches us to avoid getting overly confident that God will continue to be long-suffering toward sin.
Many continue to ignore the fact that God is long-suffering toward us not wishing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Pet. 3:9)
The apostle of Christ shows us that God’s patience is designed to lead us to change our mind, attitudes and actions.
Failure to respond to God’s patient goodness is actually making a decision to reject His truth.
Ask the Lord to help you appropriate all the grace He has shown you so that none of it is given in vain.
3. Paul warns people not to try to take advantage of God’s mercy and kindness.
Too many people presume upon the love of God. They think that a kind God will not send anyone to hell nor will He judge anyone too harshly.
The Lord is bound to stand by His words of justice, truth and judgment for all without any impartiality or inconsistency.
It is in the nature of God to render to every man according to his works – just as they deserve.
Ask the Lord to help you respond with wholehearted obedience to our just, loving and accountable God.
4. Paul teaches that God’s wheels of justice may move slowly, but they also move exceedingly sure.
The great missionary wanted the Romans to know that God would have a pay-day, someday for every human being. Do not think that anyone is exempt from the judicial authority of God’s all watching eyes.
Ask the Lord to help you live more in the fear of the Lord so that you can keep all of His commandments. Fearing God delivers us from evil and the fear of man.
5. Paul teaches the Romans that God cannot compromise with any overt or covert sin.
Some people believe that their secret sins will not be subject to God’s judgment, but they are wrong. Those who detest or neglect to acknowledge God’s authority are just as guilty as those of us who are aware of His truth.
Ask the Lord to help you not compromise your ethical principles in anyway so you will not have to experience the divine chastening of the Lord’s hand.
6. Paul taught the Jewish believers not to rely on their heritage for special favors or exoneration from God.
No one has a special exemption with the Almighty.
We will all be judged according to Biblical criteria.
Ask the Lord to help you avoid trying to compare yourself with others. Trust the Lord to help you do all you can to respond to the gracious patience of the Lord and avoid incurring His wrath and consequential penalties.
Conclusion:Someone once asked Paul Harvey, the journalist and radio commentator, to reveal the secret of his success. "I get up when I fall down," said Harvey.
Bits & Pieces, March 3, 1994, p. 16.
The 1992 Summer Olympics featured two tremendously poignant moments. American sprinter Gail Devers, the clear leader in the 100 meter hurdles, tripped over the last barrier. She agonizingly pulled herself to her knees and crawled the last five meters, finishing fifth--but finishing.