Summary: Forbearance is that character of God which causes Him to withhold punishment when it is justly due; to restrain His wrath, when it can be righteously poured on His enemies. Forbearance is the consequence of God’s abundant goodness. Longsuffering is forbea
Intro: God’s goodness is upon all His works. “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” (Psa. 33:5b) “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psa. 145:9) Forbearance is that character of God which causes Him to withhold punishment when it is justly due; to restrain His wrath, when it can be righteously poured on His enemies. Forbearance is the consequence of God’s abundant goodness. Longsuffering is forbearance extended to the sinner. It is bestowed daily, weekly, yearly although the sinner continues to abound in the number and enormity of his sins!
I. THE DEGREE OF GOD’S LONGSUFFERING
A. God’s perfect holiness. Notice the One against whom all sin is committed. Sin is not an evil which affects an inferior, or attacks an equal; but it is pure rebellion against the holy Almighty God who created and filled heaven and earth with His glory! All sin is against God (Josh. 24:19; Psa. 51:4a)
B. God’s love of purity. Purity is essential to God’s character. Every sin and evil is abominable in His sight. He detests moral and spiritual uncleanness. His name, attributes, word, will, ways, and works are all attacked by uncleanness. All uncleanness is in direct opposition to Him. (I Thess. 4:7)
C. God’s hatred of sinners. He is so aware of every sin committed by man against Him. He sees the conception, birth, progress, and result of every evil act. God sees what the sinner thinks, says and does, and what he would do more and more were he not only restrained. God is surely annoyed with every sin in its spread and its effects on others. God reserves the just punishment every sinner deserves. (Psa. 5:5; 7:11)
D. God’s power to punish. The sinner is always within God’s reach. None can hide from Him. He can direct lightning on his head, or allow a variety of channels of perils to his life. All of the earth’s natural forces are available at God’s disposal: hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, famines, pestilences, and plagues – all are His servants and ever at hand to do as He wishes. (Deut. 11:17; 6:15; II Chron. 7:13)
E. God’s goodness to sinners. God’s anger to sinners is balanced only by His goodness and mercy! He not only spares, forbears punishment, allows him to live, but gives the sinner air to breathe, clothes to wear, food to eat. He gives him health and strength, comfort and enjoyment. (Acts 14:17) God also sends the sinner His word and His Spirit to lead him to repentance and salvation. God wills the salvation of all men, invites them to come unto Him and be reconciled. (I Tim. 2:4)
II. THE DESIGN OF GOD’S LONGSUFFERING
A. To exhibit the riches of His grace. God delights in mercy. He loves to save more than judge and condemn. He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. (Ezek. 33:11)
B. To guide sinners to repentance. God’s longsuffering is designed to provide man ample opportunity, time and means to come to repentance; so that sinful man is given all the chance to get right with God. (II Pet. 3:9, 15)
C. To leave sinners without excuse. On Judgment Day, a sinner cannot plead to ease the terrible sentence of the Lord after he had wasted a lifetime of chances. He had warnings to consider, and forbearance shown him. God has called and waited so long. So, the sinner is without excuse. (Rom. 1:20)
III. THE DESPISING OF GOD’S LONGSUFFERING.
A. The scoffers speak disrespectfully, “And saying, Where is the promise of His coming?” (II Pet. 3:4a)
B. The profane harden their hearts because sentence against their evil deeds is not executed speedily. Therefore, the hearts of men are keen on doing evil. (Rom. 2:5)
C. The majority of men is indifferent to it. They do not seriously consider. They let God’s appointed time pass on until His abundant mercy is exhausted of its resources. So then they reap according to what they have sown. (Gal. 6:7-8)
Conclusion: Consider how foolish it is to ignore and despise God’s goodness and forbearance. Consider how wicked it is to despise God’s longsuffering! Let us not be foolish to exhaust the abundance and riches of God’s longsuffering. May God’s goodness – not His judgment – lead us to repentance TODAY!