Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life, (1:16).
There was a much-needed peace that washed over me as I read of His Perfect Patience. It was a gift, coming out of Jeremiah and Lamentations, to land on His Perfect Patience. But then it hit me, we had actually been privileged to see His Perfect Patience repeatedly manifested over last two months spent in reading the written records of the Weeping Prophet.
In English, we typically think of “Perfect” as being without fault or mistake. And while this can definitely be applied to His Patience, the original Greek word used conveys Perfection in the fact of totality, not any part is missing.
Perfect: “59.23 πᾶςa, πᾶσα, πᾶν; ἅπας, ασα, αν (alternative form of πᾶς): the totality of any object, mass, collective, or extension—‘all, every, each, whole,” Louw- Nida Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament.
And the word translated as Patience, literally means to suffer long and is used in respect to persons, and not circumstances.
Patience: “3115. μακροθυμία makrothumía; gen. makrothumías, fem. noun from makrothuméō (3114), to be long–suffering. Forbearance, long–suffering, self–restraint before proceeding to action… Makrothumía is patience in respect to persons while hupomonḗ (5281), endurance, is putting up with things or circumstances… Makrothumía is associated with mercy (éleos ) and is used of God,” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
And I couldn’t help but be reminded of His Perfect Patience, mercy and long-suffering for His people as He sent His prophets again and again.
“Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have sent you all My servants the prophets, daily rising early and sending them. 26 Yet they did not listen to Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck; they did more evil than their fathers,” (Jeremiah 7:25).
“Also I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them again and again, saying: ‘Turn now every man from his evil way and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to worship them. Then you will dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers; but you have not inclined your ear or listened to Me,” (Jeremiah 35:15).
“Yet I sent you all My servants the prophets, again and again, saying, “Oh, do not do this abominable thing which I hate.” 5 But they did not listen or incline their ears to turn from their wickedness, so as not to burn sacrifices to other gods,” (Jeremiah 44:4).
And behind His long-suffering, His mercy and His Perfect Patience, we hear His heart utter, “Perhaps…”
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah who have come to worship in the Lord’s house all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not omit a word! 3 Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds.’ (Jeremiah 26:2-3).
And Paul, the grateful recipient who had heard God’s heart, heard His “Perhaps,” and turned from his evil way. And in His Perfect Patience, God relented, and the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus in Paul’s place. And Paul was never the same.
While the letters to Timothy, and Titus, are referred to as pastoral letters and are primarily devoted to giving instructions to those in leadership who care for the body of Christ, with special attention given to knowing, teaching and guarding the doctrines of the faith, there are truths applicable and essential for every believer’s growth in love, purity, moral excellence, and sincerity.
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith, (1:5).
These truths are founded in His Perfect Patience for each one of us; His Perfect Patience that defies human logic; His Perfect Patience that is beyond description; His Perfect Patience that Perfectly Provides His Peace.
To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, (1:2).
Paul was most definitely deemed as the least likely to ever become a Christian. As a matter of fact, he had zealously devoted himself to destroying the church of God.
For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; 14 and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. (Galatians 1:13-14).
It truly is no wonder that Paul never could get over being saved. And out of his overflowing gratitude, Paul pens a beautiful prayer of thanks for God’s Perfect Patience manifested in His mercy and long-suffering, poured upon one lacking in anything deserving of such grace, upon one so undeserving of His Perfect Patience that is totally complete and lacking in not one thing. It had to be to save such a one as Paul. And it has to be to save the likes of us all.
Consider His Perfect Patience
- His Perfect Patience strengthens us.
- I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me… (1:12).
- His Perfect Patience considers us faithful.
- …because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, (1:12).
- His Perfect Patience shows the most undeserving His mercy.
- even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief, (1:13).
- His Perfect Patience grants His abundant grace through faith and love in Christ.
- and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus, (1:14).
- His Perfect Patience sent Jesus to save sinners.
- It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all, (1:15).
- His Perfect Patience is demonstrated in those who believe Him for eternal life.
- Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life, (1:16).
- His Perfect Patience reveals His eternal glory.
- Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen, (1:17).
As we’ve seen in our days throughout the Old Testament, His Perfect Patience was not a new attribute. It has been Who He Is from the beginning of history.
When Moses asked God to show him His glory, the Lord proclaimed His Perfect Patience.
Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; (Exodus 34:6).
His Perfect Patience is repeatedly referenced in several writings of the Old Testament, describing His compassion, grace, and abounding love.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness, (Psalm 103:8).
When Paul penned the beautiful definition of love to the church in Corinth, the first term he used was patient. And as we read Paul’s entire portrayal of the attributes of love, each one is rooted in His Perfect Patience.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails, (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
His Perfect Patience is truly His heart for all people, that all would come to repentance and be spared eternal separation from Him.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance, (2 Peter 3:9).
How do we respond to His Perfect Patience?
Oh, what a Perfectly Patient Savior. Let us pray that we too, like Paul, would never get over how undeserving we are, that we would be preoccupied daily with a consuming gratitude that because we have trusted in His Perfect Sacrifice on the cross for our sins, He has demonstrated His Perfect Patience to the likes of us.
And no matter our “sin list,” the truth is, we all fall into the category of “the foremost,” “the worst of sinners” (NIV). For because of our sin, every one of us are as far separated from Holy God as any human can possibly be.
But in His Perfect Patience, He sent Jesus as our High Priest; Jesus Who knows our struggles and sympathizes with our weaknesses. And because of His Perfect Patience, we do not have to fear approaching Him when we need His mercy, grace, and help.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need, (Hebrews 4:15-16).
But let us never take His Perfect Patience for granted, but let us listen to hear what is behind His long-suffering, His mercy and His Perfect Patience. And if we hear His heart utter, “Perhaps,” let us be quick to respond to His kindness in humility and repentance.
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4).
Oh, today and every day, let us live to honor and bring glory to our King of Kings, for in His Perfect Patience we have access to His throne of grace!
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen, (1:17).