It is humbling to consider the following contrast. On the one hand there is me, a confirmed sinner, who can so quickly be impatient and unkind toward those who offend me. On the other hand, there is God, the eternal, holy, sovereign ruler, who is “… merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Ps. 86:15) God is extravagantly rich in patience and kindness to sinners like me. Amazing! Truly, what hope would any of us have if God Almighty responded to us the way we so often respond to those who hurt and injure us?
God’s infinite patience and kindness has been poured out upon us through Jesus Christ (Titus 3:4-7). As we grow in the knowledge of His love for us, by faith, so we must be all the more faithful in being instruments of His love to others – especially our brothers and sisters in the local church (1 Cor. 13:4). In God’s perfect providence, it is the very sins and weaknesses of our brothers and sisters that become the occasion of genuinely displaying the supernatural love of Christ. Thus we must learn to look beyond the offense of our brother or sister, to the need of their soul. We must seek to bless them with the patience and kindness of Christ. None of us can do this on our own, but God gives us the power through His Holy Spirit.
Beloved, in this way God’s excellencies in Christ are all the more displayed through us (Eph. 3:8-10) , and the unity of His Spirit is all the more preserved among us (Eph. 4:1-3). The process is often hard, difficult, and painful. But oh, what wonderful fruit God bears for His glory, and the joy of His people (Jn. 15:8-11)!
I’m so grateful for each of you, and the privilege of growing in these matters together as a part of RCG!