"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 ESV
God’s treatment of us in our sin takes many forms, but always with the same goal. This verse describes most of them in the context of the very last one, not mentioned in this verse, which is judgment.
Judgment comes at the very end, when everything else has failed to bring about the result that God is always seeking: repentance. Or stated more completely, repentance and faith, which together equal conversion. God is constantly seeking to bring about a converted heart in us; a heart characterized by repentance and faith.
When all of His efforts fail to produce a converted heart and we prove to have hardened ourselves so that none of this has an effect, all that remains is the final step: judgment. But until then God deals with us constantly in these other ways: kindness, forbearance, and patience.
He is kind to us in providing all the needs of our life. He lavishes His goodness upon us in hope of bringing us to repentance and faith.
He forbears with us in not letting us suffer the full consequences of our bad choices. He holds back the full natural result of our sin and evil behavior from destroying us, giving us more time, hoping that we will still repent and return to Him in faith.
His patience with us is astonishing, much more than what you and I have with one another. None of us would tolerate anyone doing to us what we do to Him. We would never allow anyone to ignore us, to treat us with such contempt, to insult us, to spit in our face the way that we do to Him. And He does this all in hope that we will recognize how wrong it all is and repent and return in faith.
He seeks the conversion of our hearts. His kindness is meant to bring us to repentance.
For us who know Him, who have responded to His grace and come to faith in Jesus, He still works to produce a more fully converted heart; one that truly abhors sin and desires to stay close to our Savior; a heart full of a true and living faith.
May it be so!
Lord God, open my eyes to see your kindness, forbearance, and patience with me. Give me that heart of repentance, that true and living faith that You seek, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles