13 July, 2017

I Peter 3:20—“… the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing …”

By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water (I Pet. 3:19-20 KJV).

One of the primary effects of common grace is said, by its proponents, to be that “God exercises forbearance and longsuffering towards the world. Man collectively deserves the judicial outpouring of divine wrath, but God suspends it” (Donald Macleod, Behold Your God [Christian Focus, 1990], p. 118).

Peter, in this text, speaks of the longsuffering of God “waiting” in the days of Noah. This is often thought to be about God graciously giving the reprobate a chance (120 years—an abundance of time) to repent and turn to Him. And through the preaching of Noah during that 120-year span, God is said to be conveying a well-meant offer of salvation to all that outwardly hear, before eventually bringing that time of opportunity to a close.


Prof. David J. Engelsma

In general, the case has been made that longsuffering is God’s loving attitude towards His elect people in their suffering in the world. In His fatherly love, He is moved to deliver them at once from their sufferings at the hands of the wicked but allows them to suffer because He is working out His plan for their full salvation and His plan for the wicked’s filling their cup of iniquity. It is comparable to the surgeon’s performance of a painful surgery upon his own dear child. He is inclined to spare the child, but in love for the child’s good he performs the surgery. 
This explains the longsuffering of I Peter 3. God was longsuffering towards Noah and his family. In that longsuffering towards His dear child, God endured the wicked for a long time. 



More to come! (DV)

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