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? – Romans 2:4
Believers have the privilege of seeing all of life as designed and ordained by the sovereign will of God. By that sovereignty, each person’s eternity is set (Rom. 9:18). By that sovereignty, all our troubles and woes serve a purpose (Gen. 50:21, Eph. 1:11).
By that same sovereignty, sinful people across the world live to see another day. “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45). Instead of blotting out humanity due to its rebellion against Him, God does not simply tolerate the lives of sinful people. He grants favor upon them, because God’s sovereignty is tethered to God’s benevolence. The Lord surely does all that He pleases (Ps. 145:3), and it pleases Him to be “kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Lk. 6:35).
The kindness of God is impartial, powerful, and always purposeful. His kindness is not random or inconsistent with His character. “The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His works” (Ps. 145:17). God’s people have always extolled and worshipped Him in accordance with His everlasting, unchanging benevolence. The chief psalm of praise is anchored in God’s loving-kindness. “Give praise to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever” (Ps. 136:1). God’s kindness is not pithy, uncalculated, or unintentional. Kindness is who He is. He is merciful, good, benevolent, and kind.
The certainty of wrath and condemnation for sinners in the future does not negate the reality of God’s kindness and hospitality toward them in the present. The simplicity of a verse like Romans 2:4 is profound in that it allows us to see the depth of God’s goodness for what it is: present and purposeful.
Romans 2:4 sits as a diamond amid a heap of coal. In the first chapter of this epistle, Paul lays out the imminent wrath that is coming for the ungodly and unrighteous (Rom. 1:18). Having developed the downward spiral of a pagan culture, Paul turns to the “foolish person”—one who rightly perceives the immorality of the world, condemns it, all the while living in the same filth (Rom. 2:1-3). It is the believer who sees the sin in everyone but not in himself. He has a high moral code but a broken spiritual compass.
How does someone get to that place, you might ask? Paul’s answer is straightforward: through a diminishment and disregard for the kindness of God. These believers “think lightly” of the riches of His goodness.
May we not take his kindness for granted. May we see the abundant life for what it is, truly abundant of kindness.
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