GOD IS LONG-SUFFERING
BY: RAY PRINZING
“God, willing to shew wrath, and to make His power known, inured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He afore prepared unto glory.” (Romans 9:22-23)
Peter also writes how “the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (1 Pet. 3:20) What was the condition of man in Noah’s day? “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5) Yet, in view of such evil, God did not swiftly execute His wrath, but He was long-suffering while Noah built the ark to the saving of eight souls.
God would make known the riches of His glory through vessels of mercy, but it appears to take a long time to prepare such vessels, longer than it does to bring forth vessels of wrath. Man, born in sin and shapened in iniquity, has the root of the mystery of iniquity working in him from the moment of his natural birth, when he begins to breathe the atmosphere of this world’s system. A baby can manifest its own self-will the day it is born. But to prepare a vessel of mercy takes the tender care of God, as little by little He purges and purifies, until the whole is conformed to His image. Therefore HE ENDURES, He is patient, He continues a long time while waiting for this spiritual maturity. Just like He endured the whole wicked stream of humanity all those years while Noah constructed an ark, so now He waits for our perfection.
“Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long (be long-suffering) with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.” (Luke 18:7-8). What a beautiful balance, long-suffering with His creation, and yet when He does move, it shall be done speedily. “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.” (1 Tim. 1:16)