Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Romans 2:4 KJV)
What does it mean that “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
We often interpret this verse to mean we have to preach and tell people about God’s goodness to lead them to repentance. The Gospel is the Gospel of grace which means it is a proclamation of the good news of God’s favor to humanity. However, this is not what Paul intended to communicate in the verse above.
The context helps us understand what Paul meant by the goodness of God leading people to repentance. God’s patience is an indication of His goodness in putting up with the sins of people. His forbearance gives them opportunity after opportunity to repent. His goodness today contrasts to the days of the Law where God often judged sin with little to no patience or forbearance.
You probably know that it is because of God’s goodness that many of us(believers) are still alive today in Church. We have the Holy Spirit, but we are often as stubborn as the Israelites were in the Old Testament. In ancient Israel, any man who dared entered God’s presence with sin died instantly. Think of how many times we sing in the choir or preach on the pulpit with sin in our lives, yet it is as though God does not see it. God’s goodness leads people to repent of their sins. His goodness or favor revealed in Christ is our protection from judgment today. Thank God for the grace that is in Christ Jesus!
What is the meaning of the phrase “the goodness of God leadeth us to repentance”?
APPLY THE WORD
We are living in days that David himself called blessed. God did not spare him for his sins, yet he was a man close to God’s heart in the Old Testament. Do not take God’s goodness for granted by continuing in sin. Let His goodness show you how patient and forbearing He is so you can turn away from evil.
Bless the Father for His goodness shown to us today in Christ.