Stepping into Romans chapter two, we see two themes emerge –judgment and God’s kindness. On judgment, Paul warns us ‘don’t!’ Because in reality, folks who are given to judging others and their sin, are usually guilty of the same, which makes them h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e-s. Hypocrisy will be judged by God.
Romans 2.1-4 [Pay close attention to the last verse, please.]
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else,
for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself,
because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's
judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when
you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do
you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for
the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that
God's kindness leads you toward repentance?
Let’s get personal--
Does God’s kindness lead you toward repentance? Or, does God’s kindness tend to make you lackadaisical about sin?
(remembering the list of sins at the end of Romans 1 included gossip,
slander, envy, greed, malice, etc.—not just what some folks think of as
In order to get at your answer, maybe some perspective is in order. What do you think the kindness of a mother does for her push-the-envelope teen-aged son? Do you think that the fact that she gave in and picked him up at school,
though she had told him he would have to walk--as his behavior earned
him a long, uphill walk home--move him toward repentance or …what? I’ll
tell you what… most teen-aged boys who perceive their moms as ‘soft’
will endeavor to push the envelope even further the next time. Are we any different than those boys, who were not motivated by mom’s soft heart? I doubt it.
Does God’s kindness lead you toward repentance? Are you motivated by it? Motivation is both the desire and willingness to do something. It's what gets you started and keeps you going. Most people are motivated either by the avoidance of pain or the pursuit of pleasure.1 It just may be that the biggest motivation in life is the avoidance of pain. (Well then, repentance moves us into right relationship, and avoidance of judgment) Hmmm . . Followers of God need to have a right understanding of God’s unconditional love for them--his desire to pardon, forgive, and redeem ALONG WITH an understanding that a holy God does not wink at sin. He cannot. A day of judgment is a-comin’. Our God is big on accountability.
Which reminds me---what happened to Adam and Eve’s motivation to obey God? Perhaps they didn’t fully understand the penalty that would fall on them . . . After all, when they were created, they were already in communion with God; and being the first human beings, how could they comprehend what separation from God would look like? Did they ‘get’ that their choice to disobey God would forever compromise the Garden--their world--environment, health, relationships, etc.? Hmmm . . .
In this short passage, we see that God is both kind and just. He is not a little bit kind—he has vast storehouses of kindness for his
children—such that he is so very patient with us, so ready to forgive us
and redeem us. He is not willing that ANY should perish, but that all would enter into eternal life through the cross of Jesus Christ.
May his kindness lead us toward repentance and purposeful living in him forever. Amen.
1 Lynne Lee, E-zine article
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