“[Jesus], whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine FORBEARANCE he had PASSED OVER the sins previously committed.” (Romans 3:25, NRSV)
FORBEARANCE: (Dictionary.com) an abstaining from the enforcement of a right
(American Heritage Dictionary) tolerance and restraint in the face of provocation
(WordNet) a delay in enforcing rights or claims or privileges
I am, right now, really basking in the reality of God’s forbearance. I love that the NRSV and NASB uses this term. It is phenomenal. The reality of this word really strikes me and teaches me more about grace.
“In His divine forbearance”: This is to say that God is abstaining from enforcing a right. That right is one of giving me death or some other punishment for my sin. My sin deserves death, and God has every right to do as He wishes in response to my sin, but he chooses to abstain from that right.
This forbearance is also a tolerance and restraint in the face of provocation. How many times do I end up doing what I hate to do and essentially go on sinning the face of God’s grace. I am a child who knows God gives me grace and so I taunt him and provoke him with my continual sin. Yet in his divine forbearance; his tolerance and restraint in the face of my provocation, I am still able to live an enteral life in intimacy with God.
Another level of forbearance is the delay in enforcing rights or claims or privileges. God has the right and the power to do as he wishes. It would be his privilege to punish me, but it is his love which shows me forbearance.