Romans 2:4 – “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?”
As a child, I remember a regular battle that took place in our home. I would be playing with my older sisters and we would start to wrestle like kids do. When I was younger they would pin me down and tickle me, rendering me completely helpless. Of course all that pent up inability one day was released and the tables were turned. Finally, I was strong enough to fight back. That lasted for a year or so, and then my strength as a boy outweighed their strength as girls and my dominance was evident. Of course, then came the moments where my strength was not harnessed and I would actually hurt my sisters. I remember being punished for this and being forced to say I was sorry. I was forced to repent. My parents’ kindness led me to repentance. I was blessed, but never once did I actually attribute their leading me to repent as an act of kindness.
Today, we lead our children to repent after they have hurt one of their siblings. I try to convince them that my discipline of them is actually out of kindness and love. I’m not sure how much they really understand this, but I try to make it clear. As someone who is on the receiving end of a prompting to repent, do you view God’s leading to repentance as God’s kindness? How is it kindness?
Our prompted repentance is from God’s kindness because our repentance shatters the wall that exists between us and God that we have created. It is our sin that we have willingly submitted to that creates a divide that causes us to turn our backs on God. It is our failure to resist temptation that breaks the relationship we have with God. Therefore, when God is calling us to repent, it is his kindness driving him to break that barrier down.
In addition, for God to lead us to repentance is for God to show us love. God knows what it is that we need most. He knows what the ultimate purpose is that we have been created for. He knows that he alone is who and what can satisfy. He knows that there is no joy apart from a relationship with Him. Therefore, for God to lead us to repentance and lead us to be in right relationship with Him is an act of love.
God’s kindness is also seen in the way in which he leads us to repent so that he might work more powerfully in and through us. God desires to build his church through our faithful testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we repent of our sin, we yield ourselves to God’s work and he chooses to cause us to be fruitful to this purpose.
Lastly, the end result of a life that is not repentant is a life headed for destruction. For God to provide a way for us to be led to eternal life and not eternal destruction is God showing us compassion. God shows us the result of failing to repent as Paul continues in Romans 2:5 – “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”
How is God showing you His kindness by leading you to repentance? Is God leading you to repent of your spirit of skepticism and doubt? Is God leading you to repent of your lack of faith? Is God leading you to repent of a specific sin? See that God’s kindness is that which is leading you to repentance.