August 02, 2005

Love Suffers Long (1)

1 Cor. 13:4a; 2 Peter 3:1-13

The Lord ... is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish ...

—  2 Peter 3:9

The "last days" mentioned in 2 Peter is the time between the first and second comings of Jesus into our world. No one besides God the Father knows when these days will come to an end (Mark 13:32). During this time, in obedience to his command and empowered by his Spirit, Jesus' disciples carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

But something else is also going on during the last days. Peter says, "Scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires." A scoffer is one who shows scorn, disrespect, contempt for someone or something. The scoffers Peter mentions are people who have given up hope in Jesus, claiming that God is too slow in keeping his promise about Jesus' return. But what may appear to be God's slowness is really an expression of God's awesome love, which suffers long (in patience). God suffers long, "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

God suffers long, but not endlessly. One day Jesus will return to gather all who have persevered in faith, hope, and love, and then all who have followed "their own evil desires" will face destruction.

So let's live "holy and godly lives" as we await Jesus' return. And let's reflect God's capacity to suffer long, as we preach the gospel and pray for people's repentance.

Father, thanks for being patient with me. By your Spirit continue to empower me to live a godly life. Work through me to bring others to repentance.In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Richard E. Williams

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