Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). In my last article I sought to answer the question, why the gospel? In this article I want to consider the gospel in light of the goodness of God. All Christians would agree that God is good. In fact, most of us would sum up our belief in the goodness of God with the statement, “God is good all the time and all the time God is good.” I’m not sure where that statement originated. But it is clearly biblically and theologically sound. But have you ever paused to consider why God is good? Furthermore, have you ever considered how we ought to respond to the goodness of God? God is definitely good. In fact, the Bible teaches He is good to everyone—believer and unbeliever alike (see Matthew 5:45). God’s goodness is a wonderful reality and is demonstrated through the riches of His grace, forbearance, and patience toward us. The question is, how ought we to respond to His goodness?
The Bible teaches there are two possible responses to God’s goodness. These responses can be described as willful responses in that each requires an exercise of the will. In other words, when faced with the wonderful reality of God’s goodness a decision is required from us—how will I respond? The first response is alluded to in the first few words of Romans 2:4, “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness?” Kindness here is the Greek word chrestotes, which appears some ten times in the New Testament and each time means goodness, kindness, or gentleness. Paul says God is good and because of His goodness we are asked, “Do you think lightly of His kindness?” The phrase, “think lightly of” is translated from the Greek word, kataphroneo, and means to despise, disdain, think little or nothing of, to scorn. So one possible response to God’s goodness is to scorn it, that is, to reject it. There are many today who scorn the goodness of God. In so doing, they reject the gospel, and as a result, Paul says, “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 2:5). Obviously, it is a serious thing to reject the goodness of God. Another possible response to the goodness of God—one much more desirable if you ask me—is to receive or embrace His goodness. We do this through repentance. In other words, I repent of my sins and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hosea 3:5 says, “How great is Your goodness which You have stored up for those who fear You.” So to reject God’s goodness is to “[store] up wrath” (Rom. 2:5), and to receive His goodness through repentance is to “[store up goodness]” (Hos. 3:5). This repentance works itself out through perseverance in doing good and results in “glory and honor and immortality, eternal life” (Rom. 2:7). This is the Word of the Lord!
This brings us back to our original question. How ought we to respond to God’s goodness? To put it another way, how will you respond to God’s goodness? Will you reject it or receive it? Will you continue in your sin or repent, believe in and obey the Gospel? Paul concludes his thought here with a summation of God’s righteous judgment towards everyone: “For there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:11). The Greek word translated partiality here means to judge things on the basis of external or pre-conceived notions. Some Jews wrongly believed God showed partiality towards the Jews. Some today—both Jews and non-Jews—believe God will somehow show them partiality in terms of judgment. However, Paul makes it clear this will not be the case. God is not partial. He is no respecter of persons. His judgment will be righteous and just. The only way to escape God’s judgment is to respond right now to His goodness by repenting of your sins, embracing, believing in and obeying the Gospel. If one fails to meet God’s conditions by rejecting and scorning His goodness, only judgment remains.
You are welcome to leave comments and you don't have to necessarily agree with me. However, I expect a civil tone and charitable spirit. We can disagree with one another without being disagreeable. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
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