The Undefeatable Patience
Paul has already pictured the church and its great purpose. And he has explained that for the church to be what God intends for it to be in this generation we must be what God expects of us. We must walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called. We must walk with meekness. We must walk with humility. But there is even more yet.
We must also walk with all longsuffering, another translation uses the word patience. This is translated from a Greek word that is quite interesting. As a matter of fact it has two distinct directions of meaning. It describes the spirit which will never give up and will reap the promise and the reward because it endures to the end. The Roman army was described with this word “The Roman persistency which would never make peace under defeat.” They might lose a battle, they might lose a campaign but never considered losing a war. The Christian character that Paul is describing here is one that will never admit defeat...will not be broken by any misfortune or suffering, which will not be deterred by any disappointment or discouragement, but which persists and endures to the end.
The second direction of meaning is patience, long suffering. But in the Greek the meaning is even more specific. It is patience with men. Chrysostom defined it as the spirit which has the power to take revenge, but never does so. Have you seen a large dog and a small puppy playing..the puppy nips, bites, attacks the larger dog who has the power to destroy the puppy but doesn’t. It is the spirit which bears insults and injury without bitterness and without complaint. It is that spirit that bears the foolishness of men without irritation. It is the spirit that can suffer unpleasant people with graciousness and fools without complaint.
Romans 2:4 Do you despise the long suffering of God?
1 Timothy 1:16 Paul speaks of the long suffering of Christ.
1 Peter 3:20 “The long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah.”
2 Peter 3:15 The long suffering of God is our salvation