Our great need for patience is repeated throughout the book of Hebrews:
• “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself…and so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (Hebrews 6:13-15, italics mine).
• “Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (6:12).
• “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (10:36).
God has given us many wonderful promises—to break every bond of sin, to empower us to defeat all dominion of sin, to give us a new heart, to cleanse and sanctify us, to conform us to the very image of Christ. His Word assures us, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).
Yet God does all of these things for us only in his time, according to his divine schedule. He has no deadlines pushing him. And he ignores all demands for an instant cure-all. In short, true faith on our part demands that we patiently wait on our Lord. Our response to him should be, “Lord, I believe you’re true to your Word. And by the power of your Spirit within me, I’m going to wait patiently until you bring these things to pass in my life. My part is to remain in faith, waiting on you.”
You may endure awful trials and temptations. And you may hear horrendous lies whispered to you by Satan. At times, you may fail. In fact, you may wonder if you’ll ever reach the goal. But, as you’re enduring all these afflictions, if you’ll simply hold onto faith with patience—trusting God is at work, keeping his Word, being your Jehovah Tsidkenu—he will look on you as righteous. He has sworn by oath, “By faith, you will receive the promise.”
Paul provides the Lord’s definition of righteousness in Romans 4:20-23: “[Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him.”
The Bible could not make this any clearer. Simply put, righteousness is believing the promises of God, being fully persuaded he’ll keep his word. Conversely, unbelief is staggering at his promises, doubting God will do what he promises.