Owen goes on to speak of the patience, forbearance and longsuffering of God. There is no question he exercises his patience in providence and does not requite sinners as their deeds deserve. Notwithstanding all the providential good he does to wicked men are to make them all the more guilty. So the patience and forbearance out of Christ actually contribute to men’s destruction. Rom. 9:22, “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction?” It was but to leave them inexcusable, that his power and wrath against sin might be manifested in their destruction. And therefore he calls it “a suffering of them to walk in their own ways,” Acts 14:16; which elsewhere he holds out as a most dreadful judgement.
However in Christ these qualities, particularly the last, are revealed clearly and pre-eminently in the salvation of his people. He only suffers long with his people (II Peter 3:9). He waits to be gracious to them (Isaiah 30:18) and his forbearance is salvation (Rom.3:25).
Adapted from John Owen