February 9, 2014 by Chris French
There’s a passage in Romans 2 that demands your attention. In fact, it may be a good idea to go ahead and memorize this verse. I don’t say that often so you know I think this verse is special.
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly shown contempt for God, but Paul says that I’ve treated His kindness, self-restraint and patience toward me like garbage if I don’t live like He’s coming back.
Romans 2 starts off with Paul talking to believers. We don’t have an excuse if we judge someone then fall into the same sin ourselves. We won’t escape God’s judgment. Now the key word comes in: “Or”. In Greek, as in English, it shows a relationship between the preceding statement and the one that follows. For example, tonite I’m going to ask Kelly if she would like dinner before worship OR after worship. If you were to just see “or after worship” the idea wouldn’t make sense. You need the other half of the statement. You find the first part of the statement in Romans 2.3. We can’t condemn someone for a sin only to commit it ourselves OR we are showing contempt for His patience in returning by not living righteous lives.
The interesting part, and the reason you’re still reading, comes at the close of verse 4. “Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” His kindness? Not His wrath? I think the kindness Paul is alluding to here is God stalling His return so more can come to Him, but he may have more in mind.
When I was baptized I did it because I was scared of Hell. God’s wrath brought me to repentance. If you have a similar story it probably ended the same way mine did. It wasn’t too long before the transformation He demanded in me became a burden. I didn’t leave the church, but I was only there because I felt obliged to fill a pew. Being afraid of God’s anger toward you can lead you to repentance, but it won’t last long. As I’ve grown in Christ I’m more awestruck by His kindness than His wrath. The extraordinary lengths to which He has gone to know me, save me and have a relationship with me are humbling. The times when He has stepped into my life He has been ridiculous in His generosity. His kindness has led me to repentance more than a fear of His wrath ever did.
Today as we worship open your eyes to His kindness. As we praise Him notice the truths about His kindness the songs bring to your mind. As we hear a lesson look for God’s kindness in your life. It doesn’t matter what the topic is. His kindness will be there. You can’t talk about Him and not see it. As we take Communion remember His kindness. That particular kindness even has a Name! He’s called Jesus and as you leave the building go out in the community and share His kindness with your neighbors.