DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: My nephew admits he isn’t living the way God probably wants him to live, but he says he can always turn to God later on in life, and God will still forgive him. Is he right? Does God ever lose patience with us? —M.W.
DEAR M.W.: God is far more patient with us than we deserve, and certainly far more patient with us than we are with one another. The Bible says, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
But the Bible also warns us not to presume upon God’s patience, or assume we can take advantage of it after a lifetime of deliberately turning our backs on him. In the Old Testament, God’s people refused to renounce their sinful ways, in spite of repeated warnings from the prophets — and eventually they were conquered and enslaved. The Bible warns, “If they did not escape when they refused him … how much less will we, if we turn away?” (Hebrews 12:25).
The real problem, however, isn’t with God but with us — and this is what your nephew is in danger of ignoring. The more we sin the more calloused and hardened our hearts become, and the less likely we are to hear his voice calling us. In addition, we never know when our lives will end; death may overtake us before we have an opportunity to repent and open our hearts to Christ.
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Pray for your nephew, and urge him to face his need for Christ. Pray too that he won’t be deceived into thinking the devil’s way is better than God’s, for it isn’t. The Bible says, “Encourage one another daily … so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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