1 Timothy 1:15 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. 16And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order 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.

EXO 34:6 "The LORD, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,

Today we look at the patient love of God. We have forgiveness of sins through the mercy of God, and because of His patient love. Unfortunately we live in a world that understands neither patience nor love. We are taught that whatever we want, we need it now. Patience, today is only for those incapable of getting what they want. This is a misunderstanding of patience.

In the same way, there is also a misunderstanding of love. Todayís love is permissive. What ever you want to do, should be OK. Love, according to the world, means accepting people just as they are. Since, according to the world, God is love, and a loving God accepts people just as they are, then it doesnít matter what you do, so long as you believe in Jesus.

What do I mean? Well, thereís a commercial, and during the commercial something is spilled on the carpet, and the response is, Thatís OK. Its as though accidents will happen, and there is nothing you can do about it. And it isnít just accidents, its become everything, it should all be OK.

Whatís wrong with this? When you spill, youíve made a mess, making a mess is not what we were made to do, making a mess is not the purpose of life. When you make a mess, the least you should do is sincerely apologize. You should clean up your own messes, if you canít, you should atleast help with the clean up. But increasingly we live in a world that accepts messes as normal.

And it isnít just messes, because all this applies equally to sin. There is a belief that since no one is perfect, that no one is responsible for their sins. There is a belief that since God accepts me just as I am, he accepts me with all of my pet sins. And when I sin, forgiveness is that God says, thatís OK. As though the sin didnít really matter, that it was no trouble, with a wave of the hand to clean up the mess, to forgive and forget our sins.

So we have come to know a loving God, who has no standards. We have come to know God as our buddy. We have come to know a god who is not just, for we have forgotten what justice is. We have lost the truth.

The truth is still in the Word. We just need to hear the whole counsel of God:

NUM 14:18 `The LORD is slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of fathers upon children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation.'

So, let us go back to that spill, it is proper to apologize for spills. An apology is not mere words, but it entails sorrow for what was done; and a desire, from the heart, not to do it again. In the same way that we apologize for spills, so also we deal with sin. We feel sorrow for what we have done, and a desire not to do it again, this is the true contrition that is the 1st part of repentance. The second part of repentance is that we receive forgiveness as a transforming word. We firmly believe that it removes our sin and guilt from us, as far as the east is from the west, so that it is remembered no more. But it is also a grace that changes us, for it gives us the power, by the grace of God to overcome such temptations in the future.

This means that God is patient with us: a. because he knows that we need time to repent of our sin, and come to him in contrition seeking forgiveness. and b. he knows that we need time to grow in the grace of forgiveness, that is the transforming power of God working to make us holy.

God may accept us just as we are, but it is not Godís plan to leave us just as we are. God plans to change us from slaves to Satan, to his dear children. And as God is holy, so God calls us to be holy, and this is what the Christian life is all about, growing in holiness

2PE 3:11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God,

God is holy and just, so sin matters, and the law guides all lives, and Godís love means that we are trained in righteousness{to do right, and turn from wrong}. God is patient, because he wants us to repent of sin, and to grow in the sanctification that comes with forgiveness, by grace through faith.

In our lesson, God through Paul, shows both patience and the power of his transforming love.