God’s “goodness” refers to His “common grace” – the benefits He bestows on all mankind everywhere. Psalm 145:9 tells us, “The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”
God’s common grace restrains sin and judgment and maintains order in society. His grace enables man to appreciate beauty and goodness as He showers us with temporal blessings. “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)
The Lord even shows compassion for broken-hearted, undeserving sinners. In Luke 19, we read that as Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you." (Luke 19:42-44)
God constantly warns sinners to repent, but they do not listen. In the Old Testament, He sent warning through the prophet Ezekiel: "Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:30-32)
God’s “forbearance” means He holds back from destroying every person who sins as soon as they sin. He continually offers the gospel invitation, salvation in Christ, indiscriminately to all. He is by His moral nature a saving God. His saving character is revealed even in how He deals with those who will never believe.
God’s “long suffering” speaks of the duration for which He demonstrates His goodness and forbearance. To understand this, we need only look back through history and consider the many long years He has continually revealed His love and power in order to draw man back to Himself.
The Bible clearly teaches that God will not save everyone – most people will reject Him and spend eternity in hell. (See Matthew 25: 41, 46) For the unbeliever, God’s grace is only temporal – only for this earthly life. For the believer who repents and accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, God’s grace extends throughout eternity.
Choate Baptist Church welcomes you to join us for Sunday School at 9:45 a.m., Sunday Morning Worship at 11 a.m., and Sunday Evening Worship at 7 p.m. We also meet on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Brother Odom’s message can be heard on Radio KAML 990 AM each Sunday morning at 8:30.