December 14, 2007

God's Power Seen in His Patience

"The end why God is patient is to shew his power: Rom. ix. 22, 'What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endureth with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction?' to shew his wrath upon sinners, and his power over himself, in bearing such indignities, and forbearing punishment so long, when men were vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, of whom there was no hopes of amendment. Had he immediately broken in pieces those vessels, his power had not so eminently appeared as it hath done, in tolerating them so long, that had provoked him to take them off so often. There is indeed the power of his anger, and there is the power of his patience, and his power is more seen in his patience than in his wrath. It is no wonder that he that is above all is able to crush all, but it is a wonder that he that is provoked by all doth not, upon the first provocation, rid his hands of all. This is the reason why he did bear such a weight of provocations from vessels of wrath, prepared for ruin, that he might γνωρίσαι τό δυνατόν αύτου, shew what he was able to do, the lordship and royalty he had over himself. The power of God is more manifest in his patience to a multitude of sinners, than it could be in creating millions of worlds out of nothing; this was the δυνατόν αύτου, a power over himself."

Stephen Charnock, "On God's Patience," in The Existence and Attributes of God (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), 2:482.

I must admit that I never thought about this before, i.e., how God's power is more manifest in his patience than in his wrath or in his ability to create many worlds out of nothing. Not only is God uniquely showing his grace in this age to the astonishment of the angelic hosts, but he is uniquely showing his power as well in the display of his patience.

1 comment:

Martin said...

Excellent thought indeed Tony - and from the very verse I would pull out as a Hyper to prove 'double predestination'! Interesting how different it reads to me now.