1Therefore 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.
2We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.
3Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?
4Or 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?
5But 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.
6He will render to each one according to his works:
7to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;
8but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
9There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,
10but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.
11For God shows no partiality.
With today’s reading we stand in the middle of a lengthy treatise on man’s sinful condition. All of Paul’s arguments are leading up to the truth about our greatest need – a Savior. No matter who you are, where you come from, or how you view God you need a Savior. There’s no way to escape this truth. In these 11 verses, Paul deals with those who would look at the world around them and try to stand in a place of judgment over others. No matter how “good” you think you are, there’s no way you’re good enough to act as judge over the hearts of others. God alone has the power, the righteousness, the justice, and the mercy to bring judgment into our lives.
Instead of focusing on what we already know – we are worthy of condemnation, I want to instead look at the phrase that leaps off the page for me today. “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance”.
It’s that time again; as we come to the end of another calendar year there are some who put their ministries on TV who buy time to tell us that the end is near and the God is going to return in wrath. I saw just such a show on Friday evening last weekend. And it was on four different channels! The message they preach is that you’d better get your house in order so that when Jesus returns you are ready for Him. The tone and tenor of these shows is terror. It appears to me as if they are trying to scare us into believing in Jesus – and that’s just not the Gospel way. God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.
Throughout His ministry Jesus deals with the people around Him with grace, mercy, and kindness. He heals the sick, casts out the demons, and offers forgiveness to the downcast. Look at the woman at the well (John 4), the woman caught in adultery (John 8), or Peter’s denial of Christ. These people who deserved condemnation received forgiveness and kindness, and we are no different. God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.
In 2014 we find that people are not led to Christ through scare tactics. They are led to a loving Savior who offers forgiveness for the sins that they are so very aware of in their lives. They are led to Christ who alone can bring restoration into a broken heart. God isn’t a giant bogey man who wants to send them to hell. He is a loving and kind Father who created them to love and cherish. God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.
When your capacity for evil becomes overwhelming, remember that it is God’s kindness that leads you to examine your life and repent of your sin. None of us needs to be scared into the Kingdom. God’s invitation is loving and kind. A few years ago, Chris Tomlin wrote a song using this hook-line and I’ve given you a link so that you can go and listen to it as a part of your devotions for today.