๐Ÿ’ก๐Ÿ‘‘ How Long is Long?

Speaking of his salvation, the Apostle Paul said,

โ€œHowbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forthย all longsuffering,ย for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlastingโ€ (I Timothyย 1:16).

But if the word โ€œlongsufferingโ€ meansย to suffer long with someone, how can Paul say that Christ showed forth โ€œallย longsufferingโ€ to him? As Saul of Tarsus, he didnโ€™t join the rebellion against God until Actsย 7:58, less than a year before he was saved. God certainly hadnโ€™t suffered with Paul for very long!

But in saving Saul, the Lord didnโ€™t just show longsufferingย to him alone, He showed itย to all mankind.ย In the past, โ€œthe longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noahโ€ (I Peterย 3:20), but it only waited 120 years (Gen. 6:3). After God judged mankind with the flood, He started all over again with Noah, the father of all nations (Gen. 10:1-32). God endured those nations for 200 years, showingย moreย longsuffering. But when they built a tower in rebellion against Him, He saved Abraham, and made his seed Hisย favoredย nation, putting up withย themย for 1500 years.ย Even moreย longsuffering!

After God sent His only begotten Son to His favored nation and they crucified Him and stoned His prophet, you would think that Godโ€™s longsuffering would have been exhausted. You would think God would have given up on mankind and judged us with the worst judgment the world had ever seen,ย the Great Tribulationย (Mt. 24:21). Instead He saved Saul of Tarsus, the leader of the worldโ€™s rebellion against God, to show forthย allย longsuffering. Paulโ€™s salvation wasย the culmination of all the longsuffering God had shown in all human history.

But God did not show forth this longsuffering merely as the culmination of all His longsuffering in the past. He also showed it forth โ€œfor a pattern to them which shouldย hereafterย believe on Him to life everlastingโ€ in the future, and the longsuffering the Lord showed Paul is the same longsuffering He has shown to mankind ever since.

โ€œFor we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.ย But after thatโ€ฆโ€ย (Titus 3:3,4).

After that, what? After that youโ€™d think the wrath of God would fall on us, just as you would have thought it would have fallen on the world when they stoned Stephen. Instead we read, โ€œafter thatย the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appearedโ€ย (Titus 3:4)โ€”and itโ€™sย stillย appearing some 2,000 years later!

Haveย youย believed on Him to life everlasting? The Lord Jesus died to pay for your sins and rose again (I Corinthians 15:3,4), and all He asks is that youย believeย He died to pay for your sins. Why not โ€œbelieve on the Lord Jesus Christโ€ย right nowย โ€œand thou shalt be savedโ€ (Actsย 16:31). source

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