TruthInvestigate

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

The perfect work of patience

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (Jas. 1:4).
 
Patience, what is it really all about? Is it counting to ten so that we don’t blow our lid? Or is counting to ten just a gimmick, and doesn’t really work? What is involved in patience? What are the nuts and bolts of that character trait of the divine Ones?
 
First of all it’s interesting the way James says it, “Let patience have her perfect work”. Or, because the word “her” is supplied by the King James translators, James really said, “Let patience have perfect work”. Either way, patience is working, rather than being the work. In the modern English we speak of patience as other fruits of the Spirit:
 
“Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22,23).
 
Or we see it as a rung on Peter’s ladder:
 
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2Pet. 1:5-7).
 
We see it again as part of the sanctification train that follows our justification:
 
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:…
 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Rom. 5:1,3-5).
 
Then there are other beautiful admonitions.
 
“To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.” (Rom. 2:7).
 
“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” (Rom. 12:12).
 
“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous.” (1Tim. 3:2,3).
 
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” (2Tim. 2:24).
 
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” (Jas. 5:7).
 
“Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true.” (2Cor. 6:3-8).
 
“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1Tim. 6:11).
 
“But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2Tim. 3:10-12).
 
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Heb. 10:35,36).
 
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1,2).
 
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).
 
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you.” (2Pet. 3:15).
 
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” (1Pet. 4:1).
 
Synonyms for patience and related words are long-suffering, forbearance, mercy, charity, gracious, compassion.
 
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,” (1Cor. 13:4).
 
We could even lump persecution and calumny and hatred with patient endurance.
 
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Matt. 5:10).
 
So how can we have much patience and suffer long? According to 2Peter 3:15, we must have the patience of Jesus. As in everything else, He is our standard, our pattern, our holy example. We must have more than just any kind of patience. We must have the kind of patience that we see in Jesus. We must have the patience that we’ve experience from Jesus.
 
On that note, let’s look at the nuts and bolts of patience. Patience doesn’t come naturally by our will. No one was born with the patience of Jesus. None of us inherits His patience from our first birth. Then how do we get it? It comes with the other fruits of the Spirit at our second birth. When we surrender to God’s Law and thus to God Himself, and then when we surrender to Jesus who modeled everything that God demands including infinite mercy, then we come to God through Jesus with a heart full of grief and repentance, hopeful and patient in God.
 
Once we have confessed to God all that is in our disturbed heart and acknowledge our wretchedness, then He forgives us for all our past rebellious, ungodly life. We are justified and receive His full blessing. Now we can have endless patience with people around us. In the process of conversion we came to realize how filthy we really are and how much suffering we have caused God. We saw how patient He has been with our grimy life, our blasphemous life, our faithless life. We have been humbled by our shameful sinfulness. Now we have a new capacity to be merciful and compassionate, forbearing, long-suffering. 
 
When we accept someone in the effort to lead them to the God of righteousness, we commit ourselves to them. That commitment is for life, requiring life-long patience. Paul was committed to the Galatian believers until Christ was perfectly formed in them. He said that he was caught in the throes of childbirth awaiting their full surrender to the new birth (see Galatians 4:19). No mother can change her mind about having a baby when she is in the middle of delivering it. The body’s systems of delivery take control of her and commit her to bringing forth her baby. And that experience gives her a special commitment for the next 50 to 60 years of her life. The excruciating pain of childbirth wonderfully mirrors the horrendous, whole person agony that our Saviour endured from Gethsemane to Golgotha. But, His love committed Him to suffer it all. And all that He passed through for our second birth and our salvation perfected His commitment to remain our lifelong Saviour and Deliverer from all sin.
 
“Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25).
 
Our life commitment with others while seeking their conversion follows Christ’s example. However He, and especially His Father are much greater than we. Similarly, Their commitment is for life, Their whole life long—through all eternity.
 
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10:28,29).
 
When the Father and the Son win the heart of a new sinner, as Parents They happily commit Themselves to him or her for eternity.
 
“But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” (Ps. 86:15).
 
“O LORD, Thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in Thy longsuffering: know that for Thy sake I have suffered rebuke.” (Jer. 15:15).
 
“Despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4).
 
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Pet. 3:9).
 
It is all part of being a parent. They know and are not afraid of the challenges built into restoring sinners to their promised home. They know all the heartache involved in keeping a Christian on the path to life. They know the work will continue forever; They have counted the cost, and that we see in the plan of redemption.
 
Letting patience have her perfect work anthropomorphizes patience. It gives patience a life of its own. It says that perfect patience possesses the person, rather than the other way around. The true patience is a gift from God, as we see the patience of Christ in the grace of Christ. Again, the possession by the laws of heaven is seen in faith. Faith works. Faith takes hold on us, as the Spirit took Ezekiel and carried him to Telebib. Under the power of faith, we can be drawn in to another person’s needs and held in commitment by the compassion that we receive from Jesus in His Most Holy Place.
 
Adam’s world is the only one in the universe that finds it difficult to commit for life. God and all heaven are greatly saddened that fallen humanity does not commit to serve others unto the very end, the most obvious evidence that we have lost the original image of God. Service to God and to man are not something we do for 20 or 30 or 40 years and then go into retirement. As long as life lasts there is growth in patience, forbearance, and commitment. When growth ceases so does life. When the fruit of the Spirit cease to grow, so does the Spirit cease in us.
 
Let us go beyond the common traditions of sinful mankind. Let us recover from this. Let us know the whole duty of man, and the whole glory of God that follows obedience to the whole duty of man. Let us find the pleasure of self-forgetfulness in service by spending ourselves and being totally spent. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25).
 
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Heb. 10:36).

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