God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. 1 Peter 3:20
Thomas Paine, a free thinker and declared enemy of Christianity, gives us something to think about in making this distinction: “Toleration is not the opposite of intolerance, but is the counterfeit of it. Both are despotism.”
Tolerance is not the same as toleration. Tolerance implies patience and forbearance. When weighing or measuring things, we generally allow for a degree of variation, calling it tolerance. A tolerant person endures a situation for a while, working toward correcting it. On the other hand, toleration, while recognizing error, accepts it and does nothing about it.
God has shown Himself tolerant in the sense that He exercises great patience with sinners. He gave the people of Noah’s generation 120 years to repent. When granting a time of grace, He continually and earnestly urges repentance. In being tolerant, or patient for a season, God does not compromise His holiness. He is never given to toleration concerning the evil people do. If His proffered salvation in Christ is rejected, He brings people into judgment. In dealing with delinquent members, the church takes a page out of God’s book in that it practices patience but never extends the toleration of error.
Thankful that God is patient, long-suffering, and always willing to forgive those who repent and believe in Jesus, it is also our concern not to tempt God by an attitude of indifference. This is important: “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for being patient with me at times when my faith was weak and when sin threatened to gain the upper hand. For Jesus’ sake, create a new spirit in me – a spirit of continual repentance and faith. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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