may not take a village to raise a child, but it certainly helps when one’s
neighbors are longsuffering. With 4
active, curious and mischievous boys to deal with, our neighbors were truly
patient and tolerant. We thought little
of cutting across their property to save a few steps or riding bikes in their
driveways. The man next door, Bill, was
amazingly kind to us even though he was slowly losing his legs to
diabetes. He could have been a surly
grouch, but he was just the opposite. I
am so sorry I never thanked them for their support.
verses in the Old Testament describe the Lord God as longsuffering (KJV)
although other versions may use the term, “slow to anger” (NIV) (NAS) (Ex 34:6)
(Nu 14:18) (Ps 86:15). In the New
Testament we are given the reasons for His patient endurance (longsuffering). God’s kindness is to, “lead you to repentance”
(Ro 2:4) (Ro 9:22).
is one of the Christian virtues mentioned by the Apostle Paul as fruit of the
Spirit, and something for which we should strive (Gal 5:22) (Eph 4:2) (Col
1:11). Jesus set forth a pattern of
longsuffering for future believers (1 Tim 1:16). Paul took on that challenge and charged
Timothy to adopt it in his preaching (1 Tim 1:16) (2 Tim 4:2).
Apostle Peter talks about the longsuffering of God so that people might repent
during Noah’s preparation of the ark (1 Pe 3:20). He also tells us that the Lord is still
longsuffering with us today in hopes that no one will perish but come to
repentance before the day of the Lord comes and the earth is burned up (2 Pe
3:9-12). He explains that the
longsuffering of the Lord is for salvation (2 Pe 3:15). If then the Lord God is so kind, tolerant,
patient and longsuffering towards mankind, (Jo 3:16) shouldn’t our attitude and
conduct be the same towards all people?
Suppose your good friend
owned a Sub Sandwich Shop and offered you a free Club sandwich. All you needed to do was show up hungry and
it would already be made for you. But
suppose you decided to make your own Club Sub and went behind the counter and
began making your own version of it. Or
perhaps you decided you didn’t need the bread and preferred to just hold the
other ingredients in your hands. Your
friend would probably be amazed and somewhat offended. You would hold several of the parts but still
not have a real Club Sub. If indeed you
accepted the free, complete Club Sub, would you put it on display at home and
never eat it so that it could nourish your body? If your generous friend offered to also give
a free Club Sub to any of your friends and family, would you bring them by for
such a great deal?
Which of the following things
save one’s soul? GRACE (Eph 2:28) BELIEF
(Mk 16:16) REPENTANCE (Lk 13:3) CONFESSION (Rom 10:10) FAITH (Lk 7:50) GOSPEL
(1 Cor 15:2) IMMERSION (1 Pe 3:21) PERSEVERANCE (Mk 13:13)? The answer, of course, is all of them are
required to make a spiritual Club Sub.
Salvation is a free gift from our Heavenly Father that one must accept
without adding or subtracting any of the commands. If we were to try to enter God’s throne room
and make our own version of salvation, He would certainly be offended. We cannot earn salvation nor change the parts
He has designed. Nor can we omit any
ingredient by claiming it is, “trying to earn salvation by works.” Immersion (baptism) is somewhat like the
bread on the physical Club Sub, it is commanded by God to hold everything else
together. It is for clothing oneself
with Christ, (Gal 3:27) for burying one’s old sinful self and being baptized
into Christ Jesus, (Rom 6:3-7) and for forgiveness of sins and receiving the
Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). It is not a
work that we do, rather something that is done to us and for us by others.
Now the work part begins.
(Eph 2:10) (Eph 4:12) (1 Cor 3:9) (Php 2:12-13) Not meritorious works, but
works of gratitude and service. Instead
of putting one’s salvation on display, Christians are to bring in friends and
family for their free Club Sub (salvation).