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The Forbearance of God

That which lies hid in Christ, and is revealed from him, is full of love, sweetness, tenderness, kindness, grace. It is the Lord’s waiting to be gracious to sinners; waiting for an advantage to show love and kindness, for the most eminent endearing of a soul unto himself, Isa. 30:18, “Therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you; and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you.” Neither is there any revelation of God that the soul finds more sweetness in than this. When it [one’s soul] is experimentally convinced that God from time to time hath passed by many, innumerable iniquities, he is astonished to think that God should do so; and admires that he did not take the advantage of his provocations to cast him out of his presence. He finds that, with infinite wisdom, in all long-suffering, he hath managed all his dispensations towards him to recover him from the power of the devil, to rebuke and chasten his spirit for sin, to endear him unto himself;—there is, I say, nothing of greater sweetness to the soul than this: and therefore the apostle says, Rom. 3:25, that all is “through the forbearance of God.” God makes way for complete forgiveness of sins through this his forbearance;

– John Owen –

from Of Communion With God, volume 2 of Works, pages 86-87

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