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“Love is patient and kind;”  (1 Corinthians 13:4a)

I remember the morning when I came to this passage: “Love is patient, love is kind.”

It’s actually a verb: “Love does patience.” Or better yet, the KJV: “love suffers long.”

Patience is what you show when your computer doesn’t work.

Long-suffering is what you show when people don’t work, and you’ve been around them a long, long time. That’s what it means to suffer long.

And I looked at those words and then realized that Paul was here describing God’s character. Those are exactly the words he uses of God back in Romans 2 [v. 4].

Then it dawned on me:

the first (long-suffering) is the passive side of His love;
the other (kindness) is the active side of His love.

And then I started to cry for a long time. It took me a long time to return to my computer. What if God was not like this toward us?

~Gordon Fee. HT: Justin Taylor

Praise His name Our God is like this! He suffers long with our failures to meet us with His kindness. This is love incomprehensible! All we can do is believe it and enjoy it.

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“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

With the resurrection of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, God has already set the future inexorably in motion;

The fact that the future has already begun with the coming of God himself (through Christ and the Spirit) means two crucial things for Paul: that the consummation is absolutely guaranteed, and that present existence is therefore altogether determined by this reality. That is, one’s life in the present is not conditioned or determined by present exigencies, but by the singular reality that God’s people belong to the future that has already come present. Marked by Christ’s death and resurrection and identified as God’s people by the gift of the Spirit, they live the life of the future in the present, determined by its values and perspective, no matter what their present circumstances.

~Gordon Fee, Paul’s Letter To The Philippians, p. 50-51

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