Monday, March 26, 2018

Kindly Repent

Kindly Repent
March 26, 2018
Romans 2:4  "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"

It is never wise to burn a bridge. This is an old saying that needs limited explaining. In short, you might need to use that bridge someday, the one you just crossed; it would be foolish to burn it down or destroy it. And while I have limited use for politics, it is always wise to carefully consider who you turn into an enemy. An enemy is less likely to help you in time of need than a friend. These statements might seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised at how foolish humans can be sometimes. We can see the wisdom in these statements, but every one of us violates the truths behind them in life AND in our relationship with God. We all seem to take Him and His forgiveness for granted, knowing that He will forgive us yet another time, despite the fact we are seldom deserving of it.

There are many of us who know better than to go against common sense in our relationship with God. At least I do. I know better than to sin. Seldom do I sin without knowing it is a sin, but I do it anyway. You are the same way. You know when you're wrong, but you do it anyway. This is a foolish thing, as it ends up taking advantage of God's kindness. There IS forgiveness for all who ask of it, but that doesn't mean we should keep on sinning, especially if we know better. We should be truly repentant of our sins. To be repentant, it requires acknowledgment of our sin, taking responsibility for the action, and then having the intent to stop or change the action moving forward into the future. There is a problem, though, if we never intend to stop that bad habit or set that sin aside. We should be motivated to truly stop sinning and not want to continue down that same path. The motivator is the kindness of God. God's kindness should lead you and I to true repentance for our sinning, bringing us to the point of not wanting to sin any longer. Did you realize that?

Paul wrote the same thing to the church in Rome. For some reason, they weren't realizing they should be repentant because of God's kindness. They didn't get it. I don't know anyone like that today; you and I would NEVER do something like that. Surely we ALL realize how kind God is to forgive us; we repent of our ways immediately because God is so rich in forgiveness and patience. We wouldn't want to take advantage of His kindness. Sarcasm aside, we all make this same mistake the Roman Christians made. When Paul wrote this particular line in his letter to the Romans, he was being sarcastic, asking them a rhetorical question, knowing full well they were aware of God's kindness. Re-read this line with a hint of sarcasm: "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"

Paul resorted to sarcasm because the early Christians didn't seem to care they were taking advantage of God's forgiveness; they were being what we would call hypocrites. But a few lines later, Paul sets the sarcasm down and takes a more direct tone, telling them to get their act together. Listen to what Paul said, " 5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God "will give to each person according to what he has done."" These words were written to Christians, not the unsaved. Paul didn't write these words on his own accord, he was quoting scripture, found in Psalm 62:12 and Proverbs 24:12. The specific line is "Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?" If you read the verse in both places, they seem positive, God rewarding someone for doing good. But the scripture is meant to be interpreted both ways, rewards for doing good and alternative rewards for doing bad.

So the next time you are in the act of a sin (the thing you know you shouldn't do but do it anyway, yeah, you know that one sin I'm talking about), think about Paul's sarcasm to the Romans and the future reward you will eventually get should you continue to live with this unrepentant sin. Let God's kindness lead you to repentance now, lest you seek His wrath later.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Numbers 14:18, Ps 62:12, Ps 103:8, Pr 24:12, Romans 2:3-9, Romans 7:15, Heb 10:26

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