Through thousands of years of human history, human sin, and human rebellion, God has been patient. He has withheld His judgment and wrath, in spite of being blasphemed and rejected by the wicked human race. For now, God patiently entreats people to repent and to receive His Son, Jesus.
When I consider God's patience toward the human race, I think of the people I am witnessing to now who are not responding. I think of the people I have pleaded with over the years. Many of them have locked the doors of their hearts. They always have their reasons. "Someday, maybe, I'll surrender to Christ—but I'm not ready now." "I live a good life. I don't need a Savior." "If I become a Christian, my friends will reject me." "I want to control my own life. I don't want God to tell me what to do." So many excuses—but when these people pass into eternity, what good will their excuses do for them?
For now, God patiently entreats people to repent and to receive His Son, Jesus.
When the day of wrath comes, there will be no escape, no second chances. Today, the window of salvation is still open—but for how long? The apostle Peter wrote, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). It is not God's will that you perish for all eternity, but God's will is not the only factor in this equation. Your will is also a factor. It is God's loving and gracious will that you receive the gift of eternal life—that's why He sent His Son to die for you. But God will not overrule your free will.
God Himself does not gloat over the fate of the wicked (see Ezekiel 33:11). He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (see 2 Peter 3:9). Yet He will not overrule our free will. If we choose judgment, then judgment it shall be. No one has to suffer eternal separation from God. The victory over sin and death has already been won. Jesus has paid the price of our redemption—and He will triumph over Satan.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your precious gift of grace. Thank You for Your long-suffering compassion. Help me to daily submit my will to Yours. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"And [the Lord] passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, 'The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished'" (Exodus 34:6-7).
*Devotional adapted from End Times and the Secret of the Mahdi by Michael Youssef © 2016. Published by Worthy Books, Franklin, TN. Used by permission.