I usually begin scripture chapters with a verse that describes the main idea discussed within the letter to the church that we are considering. I’m struggling to find one that fits just right, because it seems that the main idea is multi-faceted and encapsules what it means to keep the word of the Lord’s patience—which seems to mean several things based on the scripture. I also believe that this is related to what was said, “thou hast kept my word and has not denied my name.”
Here are the scriptures that inform my understanding, and the key points within these scriptures are noted.
- 1 Peter 1-2: Our faith is tried as we endure many temptations, but if we patiently continue in well-doing, then we will receive the reward of our faith which is a crown of life. In our patience, we should remember the example of Jesus—He who patiently suffered the wrongs of evil men without being overcome by evil Himself but remained blameless in word and in deed.
- 2 Peter 3: We patiently wait on the Lord, even as others scoff at us and mock us stating that our Lord has delayed His coming (“I sit a queen and am no widow,” they say). We know that the Lord will fulfill His promises, but He is patient as He gives time and space for all who belong to Him to repent. As we patiently endure ridicule, we can rejoice in knowing that the Lord is making time for our brethren to come to Him. We also know that Jesus will return and judge, and we want to be found faithful at His coming because the unrighteous cannot stand in His presence.
- Romans 2: We should not despise the patience of God that leads many to repentance. We also remember that Jesus judges without respect of persons, meaning no one is too big and important get away with sin not repented of. We may need some time to repent ourselves, so we should not be so quick to see the judgment of God nor should we be overly eager to judge one another.
- Romans 5: Difficult times make us stronger and increases our patience, experience, and hope in the Lord. We remember that Jesus died for the ungodly, and we are justified by His sacrifice. We are not going to face His wrath, and as we grow in the faith, we have more confidence in our salvation as we experience the mercy and patience of the Lord first-hand.
- Romans 9: Jesus endures the wicked patiently until His work is completed, and He is in control of all things. He will save all who He intends to save. Jesus is glorified in the wicked, so when we feel disheartened because of the wicked who seem to prevail, we can know that they will bring honor to God in the end and all things are coming together for our good.
- James 5: Suffer affliction with patience just as the prophets suffered and as Jesus also suffered. Even now He endures much until the time of His coming is accomplished. Take comfort in His mercy and compassion for those who suffer for His sake.
You might notice recurring ideas.
Jesus died for the ungodly, and this includes us. We can have faith in His sacrifice, even as our faith is tried by a life among those who would do us harm or do harm to the Christian faith.
We endure suffering with patience, not repaying evil for evil, because we know that this is the calling we have as Christians.
We endure knowing that Jesus is no respecter of important persons, so we should not be so high and mighty in our judgements of others, but rather we should look to our own sin and be glad that Jesus gives many—including us—time to repent.
Just because we are covered by His blood does not mean we have no need to repent of the sins that we live out in this present world. However, we repent in good faith, knowing that He will save all who He intends to save—and this means allowing the wicked to continue until His time has come to return and judge the earth.
He will come and He will fulfill His promises—this is both a fearful and wonderful thing, so we should live out our days in this world in fear and in faith, seeking the grace of God and placing our trust in the sufficient sacrifice of the Son as we grow in our knowledge of Him and our ability to live in a manner that is pleasing to Him—a manner that means enduring the wicked with righteousness and with patience.
On a final note, as mentioned in Philippians: “He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.” We can have patience in this also as we strive to grow in these areas. It is not easy to endure the wicked righteously, and Jesus knows that we are weak at times. Yet, as He reminds us of in His letter to Philadelphia, it is Jesus who is Holy and True and He has the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.
We might become overly worried that we do not keep His name or His word, but He sees our desire and penitent heart. He sees our little strength, and He instructs us to hold on to what we have in faith. He will come, and His coming will be joyous for us because we continue to put our trust in Him despite living in this wicked world and despite our failings. He will work it all out in time, and we will keep His patience—not just in understanding, but in action by the power of the Spirit who is strong in our weakness.
I apologize if veering from my typical scriptures format is annoying. As mentioned before, these are drafts that I am writing in the open, allowing others time to comment and share their thoughts while I seek to have my own understanding built up. Once these are completed, I will look at these drafts along with the article series that I wrote on The 7 Churches of Revelation to inform and prayerfully complete a final work entitled, These Things Saith He. Thank you for your patience with me!
NEXT: These Things Saith He — Laodicea Overview