ANOTHER GROSS misinterpretation of Scripture from the current lukewarm church. To the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul addresses a fallacy in people’s thinking concerning God,
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
Paul’s language is stern. He tells the Roman church that their reliance on God’s long suffering tolerance to suspend His judgment on sin was on their part contempt. Most of today’s church would not have liked the apostle Paul, neither his preaching. He did not preach, “you’re best life now” or “God loves you! Keep sinning”.
Paul’s own churches, those he loved as a father loves his children, spoke poorly of him, “For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed— lest I seem to terrify you by letters. “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.” II Cor 10:8-11
Where are the Paul’s in today’s church? So many pastors are in dereliction of duty, refusing to discipline and correct. They will answer for their disobedience. The above Romans Scripture is reminiscent of “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Ecc 8:11
God’s forbearance is His restraining back judgment so that men would have a chance to repent. However, this word implies something that is only temporary. His goodness is seen everyday in His restraining of His wrath. Because of this restraining goodness of not immediately punishing men for their sins, men should have repented. But like the Jews, they saw it as God’s approval of their sinful ways.
Paul asks a rhetorical question, “Do you despise His goodness?” To which he answers, “Yes, you do.” In layman’s terms, Paul says, “You hold in contempt His goodness because you have no consideration of His impending judgment.” Behold the goodness and the severity of God. Theologian J. I. Packer says, “Christians… are not to dwell on God’s goodness alone, nor on His severity alone, but to contemplate both together.”
You will never understand God if you think only on his goodness. And you will never understand God if you think only on His severity. You must know the nature and character of God, both His goodness and His severity, which is displayed throughout Genesis to Revelation; otherwise you will be deceived.
“The goodness of God leads to repentance.” This Scripture has nothing to do with the preaching of God’s Divine Word to the tickling of men’s ears or if tolerance of sin. It has nothing to do with His command to expound on His laws and principles and tell others what goes against His Word and in what ways they are violating His commands. It has nothing to do with preaching obedience and disobedience. Yet, somehow it has become a Scripture to support why you can never speak anything that makes people uncomfortable.
I heard a radio host say something similar to this using this Romans Scripture: “you are just supposed to coddle people and make them feel good.” In case you’ve noticed, the American church is in a very bad state. This kind of preaching has not produced a holy church; but a fleshly, lukewarm, apostate Christian.
We are in a time of His goodness. He is holding back His final wrath in order for you to repent, turn away from your sin and turn to Jesus. His grace is still near to be received and His blood is still all sufficient to cleanse and forgive. But this time is only temporary.
You cannot be lukewarm and you cannot live on your own terms. Just because you have gotten away with things now, does not mean He won’t punish. Read Revelation. Five out of seven churches had stark rebukes and were told to “repent”. This message is not just for the lost. His people need to repent. Behold His goodness and His severity. God will punish the unlawful and the disobedient. Do not let this season pass you by. You are not promised tomorrow.
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