The Patience of Christ
John W. Bramhall lives at Charlotte, North Carolina. He has served the Lord for many years in the United States of America, Canada, and the West Indies. We are grateful for another devotional article from his pen, an article in which he presents to our hearts Christ the supreme example.
“The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ” (2 Thess. 3:5 —R.V.).
The expression, “the patience of Christ,” could possibly be interpreted in three ways: (a) The patient waiting for Christ. (b) That we may be patient in all our sufferings as Christ was in His (Heb. 12:2). (c) That since Christ is expecting till His enemies be made the footstool of His feet (Heb. 10:13), so should we be patient in our hopes of His triumph and our complete deliverance.
The text could possibly be rendered, “The Lord teach and enable you to love as God loves, and to be patient as Christ is patient.” The Greek word for patient is hupomone, literally, “an abiding under,” signifying the need of abiding patience under all circumstances of life. A few thoughts concerning our Lord’s patience will encourage us; so let us ask, what is He waiting for?
He is waiting for the day of reunion. It is approximately 1,900 years since His promise of John 14:3. Has He forgotten it? Could He? Never! The consummation of this event, blessedly described in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Ephesians 5:27, John 17:24 and Revelation 19:7, is constantly the patient, steadfast expectation of Christ. Surely we can be patient as He, for this glorious, yet soon coming event. Perhaps today.
He is waiting for the day of His rewards. The day of His rewards is described by various expressions: —”The day of Christ,” Philippians 2:16 — “The day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6 — “The day of the Lord Jesus,” 1 Corinthians 5:5 — “The Day,” 1 Corinthians 3:13 —“That Day,” 2 Timothy 1:12, 18 and 4:8. Regardless of the various applications, we know He is waiting for the day when He will reward His servants! The rewards? Just a glimpse of 1 Corinthians 9:25, 2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4 and Revelation 2:10, is sufficient proof for our hearts to be encouraged to plod on in patient, steadfast service until He comes.
He is waiting for the day of His Power: Read Psalm 110:1 and realize that while the enemies of our Lord are at present ruling in power over the earth, yet He is patiently waiting until the Father consummates this promise. The complete destruction of all His enemies is recorded in 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10, 11 Thessalonians 2:5-9, Psalm 2:4-9, Revelation 6:17.
He is waiting for the day of His millennial glory: A three-fold distinction of this glory is indicated: (a) with the Church in Revelation 21 — (b) with Israel in Ezekiel 37:1-14, Zechariah 12:10 and 13:2, Romans 11:26 — (c) with the Nations in Zechariah 9:10, 14:9 and Isaiah chapter 2. Many Old Testament prophecies abundantly tell of that coming glory which will be on and over the earth during His millennial reign. How patient He is!
He is waiting for the day of the new creation: God’s eternal purpose is recorded in Ephesians 1:10 —”that … He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.” See also Colossians 1:20 and Revelation 21: 1-5. Blessed New Creation, when sin shall be no more, etc. and this is part of the great work of His patience! His steadfast longing and waiting for the fulfillment of the purposes of God, put our hearts to shame as we consider our need of “the patience of Christ.”
“O patient, spotless One,
Our hearts in meekness train;
To bear Thy yoke, and learn of Thee,
That we may rest obtain.”