God’s Kindness Leads Us to Repentance…

Romans 2:1-8   Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. 2You say,* ‘We know that God’s judgement on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.’ 3Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgement of God? 4Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed. 6For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: 7to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.

 

This text follows a famously mis-used text which implies judgment on any and all same-sex loving expression.  I encourage, this  Lent, a fresh reading of  Romans 1 and 2, chapters in which an apostle in progress (Paul) passionately reaches out to new Christ-followers in the “belly of the beast” (Rome), where new Gentile and Jewish friends found themselves called together in Christ’s new community.   With a powerful and provocative set-up, Paul calls to mind his recipients’ prejudices and images of corruption, violence, and all kinds of attempts on the part of Rome’s lustful empire to be God or limit God or make God in their own image.

One chief way to try to be God is to JUDGE, it turns out.  (And, he delivers this 1-2 punch to those who might go along with all his ramp-up about the perverse Romans.) But when any of our judging, hard hearts remain untouched by the free gift of God’s grace, then we “store up wrath” in and for ourselves…

The Christian gospel (Good News) is  that God’s kindness leads to repentance (not the other way around), and that we can all be delivered from the manifold death-dealing passions of idolatry in which we objectify and judge others (or self) as if we were God.  That is what it means to be self-seeking after the law of sin and death.

If Lent means, for you, preparing to head with Christ for Jerusalem… then let us look for the Truth of his gospel in his actual life and actual heart and actual walk.   There we will find free grace, lavish kindness, and unconditional calling to Oneness with him.  Lenten lives are lives that would turn away from all the traps and baggage — including Religion’s Judgments – that we would exchange for the real deal.

That is a God in whom Jesus announces:  There is now NO condemnation…

Yes, we store up wrath in and for ourselves and in so doing sin and fall short of God’s glory.

There is now NO condemnation…

May this Lenten season be for you a season of rediscovery of God’s kindness.

 

Share

Leave a Reply