Are You on Thin Ice with God?
Charles F. Stanley
Scripture: 2 Peter 3:3-9
A. Introduction: Some people hear the gospel over and over but never repent. Others are saved but living with willful sin. Is there a limit to God’s patience? Is there ever a time that He says, “Enough is enough”?
B. Biblical references to God’s patience:
- In Exodus 34:4-6, God proclaims Himself as a merciful God.
- In Psalms, David proclaimed over and over the loving-kindness of God.
- Second Peter 3:3-9 was written to those who wondered how to answer skeptics. It explains how God’s “slowness” in bringing ultimate judgment on sinners demonstrates His patience.
C. God doesn’t let people get away with sin. The penalty of their sin begins to affect them physically, mentally, or emotionally. Examples in Scripture:
- Adam and Eve were immediately punished for their sin. Therefore, some people think they are getting away with sin. In reality, they are not: the alcoholic, the drug user, and the thief all begin to suffer on some level.
- God took the Israelites from bondage, and brought them to the Promised Land. When they sinned, He made them wander 40 years in the dessert.
- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the prophets were ignored. The Israelites figured they had special status with God and were immune to punishment. However, Jerusalem was eventually conquered by Babylon and taken captive.
- God was very patient with Paul, until one day He brought a radical transformation to “the worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:12-16).
D. What’s God’s purpose in being patient?
- He’s giving rebellious people time to be saved (Romans 2:4-5).
- He knows we have a fallen nature.
- He knows we are sometimes ignorant of His Word.
- He knows we all have weaknesses.
E. What is the application to our lives?
- God is willing for people—even Christians—to suffer so that He gets their attention.
- We abuse His goodness and love and mercy by rejecting what He desires for us.
- It’s time for God’s people to stand up and live godly lives, or God will judge this nation, just as He did the nations in the Bible.
- “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11).
- If you aren’t saved, you don’t know if you’ll have another chance to repent and accept Christ as your Savior. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
F. Conclusion: Is God a patient God? Yes. Does His patience come to an end at times? If you read the Word, you’ll discover that it does. In light of that fact, trust Jesus Christ as your Savior and Master.
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