Rom 2:4 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? ESV
Have you ever taken the time to ponder God’s kindness? Have you thought about the fact that the creator of all things shows kindness to you? It is truly amazing when you think about it. Meditating on that thought brings up an important question. Why is God kind to His creation?
Verse 4 of Romans 2 gives us a good explanation. His kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. That seems simple enough, so why does Paul take so much time in the chapter to expound on that explanation? I believe it is because he was aware that many people were misunderstanding why God is patient in judging sin. They mistook His kindness and patience as a weakness that could be taken advantage of.
That is why he begins the verse asking if the reader “presumes” upon God’s patience and kindness. He is giving warning to those who would presume, that they are storing up wrath for themselves in the day of God’s judgment (v5).
It is important for us to see that Paul is warning us as well as the first century believers who were hearing this message. In the first chapter of Romans, he has described people who would be judged. We can look at the list of sins described and easily say, “I’m good, none of that is me.” But we need to be careful. In chapter two, verse one, Paul says this, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. ESV
What he is saying here is that if we, who would condemn those sins, practice the same sins, we will be judged as well. The key word here is practice. He is speaking about continual, non-repentant practice of sin. He is not saying that we will never sin, but that like those described in chapter one, we have given ourselves over to sin and we do not repent from it. That is why he says it is presuming on God’s patience and kindness.
There are many people today, who call themselves Christians and yet practice continual sin. They often say, ”I am covered by God’s grace so I can go ahead and be disobedient. He will forgive me.” This is a dangerous position to take. It is presuming on God’s kindness.
Instead, the realization of God’s kindness should always lead us to a repentant heart and a desire to walk in obedience, rather than an attitude of “taking advantage” of His grace. Paul did say that where sin increased, grace increased all the more (Ro 5: 20), but he went on to say this, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” Rom 6:1-2 NIV
So as we ponder God’s kindness, let’s be thankful that we serve a kind and benevolent God. Let’s be reminded that He did not have to place His wrath on His own son, to pay the penalty for our disobedience. He could have let us pay that price. Let’s also remember that His patience does not mean that He will not judge sin, but that He is giving all people a chance to recognize His kindness, repent and turn to Him. Let us also show our thankfulness for His kindness, by spreading this “good news” to all those that God places in our path!
God bless you