God and His Attributes

The God of patience – Romans 15:5

In our enlightened, can-do age, patience is seen as more weakness than virtue: it is for those who can’t invent a solution or aren’t physically fit to climb the stairs when the elevator is slow. Patience is for those who can’t get their own way.

But repeatedly the Bible teaches us that God is at once all-powerful and patient. In other words, He is not patient because He has to be, but because He wants to be. In fact if, in His omnipotence, there is anything left to do of all God desires, then we see in that period of waiting the patience of God. As someone has observed, “God charted the course of the universe according to His patience.”

Patience, then, being an attribute of God, is not a weakness but a virtue. It is not only to be exercised because we can’t get our way; it is to be exercised because God is getting His way. God is never anxious, perturbed, or distressed and so we do not need to be either, if we are trusting in Him.

It is crucial, however, that we not assume that the patience of God toward us will last forever. He will not always wait; one day He will fulfill all His pleasure, saving some and condemning others.

Do not presume upon the longsuffering that He has shown toward you. As Paul warns, “Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).

If the patient, goodness of God does not lead you to repentance, then you have misunderstood its purpose.