The Patience of Christ

The living Lord is described as being “set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb. 8:1), as the Expectant of a kingdom, which, in the declared purpose of God, belongs to Him alone (Ps. 110:1-2). He has not yet received the full recompense of His Cross and shame. Nor has the promised subjugation of His foes been, as yet, an accomplished fact.

For He is there on the heavenly throne expecting, till His enemies be made His foot-stool.” His final triumph over all the powers of evil and His presentation of a kingdom to the Father, in which nothing opposed to His will is to be found, are the ultimate hopes of the glorified Christ. And for the fulfilment of these He now waits, in patience. And it is to this attitude of patient expectancy that His people are called. They do not get all that the Cross of Christ has procured for them, here and now. They “hope” for part, and “in patience wait for it” (Rom. 8:25). “The salvation which is in Christ Jesus” is already theirs, but the “eternal glory,” which is assured “with” it (2 Tim. 2:10), is not yet.

And thus they are like unto their Lord. They are in the place of expectancy, where patience is to have its perfect work (Jas. 1:4). They are at present in “the tribulation and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus” (Rev. 1:9, R.V.), and therefore need not expect to be exempt from the trials and sufferings consequent on this position. And in these testings of faith and endurance there is nothing “strange” (1 Pet. 4:12). They were the lot of their Great Exemplar (1 Pet. 2:21) Himself, when He was here. And now His saints have been called to partake in His sufferings (1 Pet. 4:13). It was for a company of believers in Thessalonica, who were in this very position, that the apostle prayed, “The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ (2 Thess. 3:5, R.V.), which means that they might be sharers in that patient expectancy of His, and have the power of it ever controlling and directing their lives while here. Such a hope, although “deferred, ‘maketh not’ the heart sick” (Prov. 13:12), like the uncertain hopes of earth, for they of times fail, because of the inability of those who inspire them to fulfil their promise. But the hope of the Christian, which is set “on Him” (1 John 3:3, R.V.), who is Heir of all, can never fail. It is a hope both “sure and steadfast” (Heb. 6:16), bound up with all that awaits the Son of God, and inseparable from His interests. It is a hope that “maketh not ashamed,” and in it the believer therefore “exults” (Rom. 5:2, 5).

All this is to have its answer in the Christian’s life and conduct here. He is to be patient in tribulation” (Rom. 12:12), not petulant or complaining, as if God had forgotten him. In afflictions, enduring all things” (2 Tim. 2:10), not in stolid acquiescence, but ever “happy” (Jas. 5:10) in the honour thereof. Under reproach for Christ’s Name and for His truth’s sake (1 Pet. 4:14), he is to take it all “joyfully.” When wronged and misrepresented, he is to be “tender-hearted and forgiving” (Eph. 4:32), leaving the day of recompence with the Lord (Col. 3:25), whose business alone it is to “repay” (Heb. 10:19).

And the Word of the Lord assures us, that “patient continuance in well-doing” is one of the evidences that one’s faith is real, and that the heart reposing in God, will have its due reward. And such “patient endurance” has, while it waits God’s time for the fulfilment of His promise (Heb. 11:15) its present fellowship with a patient Christ, who is waiting for His inheritance also. To be “patient” under the hand of God in trial brings blessing to the soul, and to “rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 36:7) until He incline His ear to hear faith’s cry for deliverance, is the sure way to get it (Ps. 40:1).

And in view of the sure promise of the Lord to “come quickly” (Rev. 22:20), there is the corresponding word of James 5:7, “Be patient therefore brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.” For He is “not slack concerning His promise” (2 Pet. 3:9), as if He had forgotten it, or was unable to fulfil it. But in the confidence that He has good reasons for each day that it seems to tarry, and we who wait have fresh lessons to learn in the waiting hours, that we cannot learn in heaven after He has come, and we have gone there, it is for us to keep the word of Christ’s patience (Rev. 3:10) and to “hold fast” all that He has committed to our trust, and “endure patiently” while He is absent, “till He come.”


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