Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Recovering Abused Bible Verses (Part 3) - Romans 2:4

2. It’s the kindness of God that leads people to repentance.

As with most of today’s "trendy churches", catchy slogans and worldly wisdom have replaced the exposition of God's Word. We are now reaping the harvest of this pragmatic philosophy with multiple generations of biblically illiterate church-goers. People who readily embrace cliches and spiritual sound bites without ever testing them for biblical soundness. Many of those who shepherd are also a product of this landscape and only serve to perpetuate the trainwreck. Joel Osteen is a high profile representative of the many therapists self esteem gurus out there masquerading as theologians and shepherds. True to that heritage, Joel Osteen claims:

“We’ve heard a lot about the judgment of God and what we can’t do and what’s going to keep us out of heaven. But it’s time people start hearing about the goodness of God, about a God that loves them….. It's the goodness of God that leads people to repentance.” (online source)

Joel Osteen has quoted this as a reason why he doesn’t talk about sin. Do you know where this verse is? Actually it’s only a part of a verse – a part of Romans 2:4 (I will highlight the whole verse in bold print):

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. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do 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? 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? 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. (Romans 2:1-5)

Here we see what God’s kindness is. It is God’s forbearance of our sin. It is that God is withholding wrath that we deserve. When we see our sinfulness and rebellion against God against the background of God’s kindness in withholding the wrath that we deserve – this leads to repentance. This is consistent with Paul’s teaching to the Corinthian church:

As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

Conclusion 2: The kindness of God leads to repentance because this kindness is shown in that He delays His wrath giving sinners time to repent.

As this series continues I hope you will see the overarching message from the true meaning of these abused Bible verses.

In Part 2 we learned that:

Jesus did not come to condemn because this world is already condemned under the wrath of God.

In todays post we see that:

The kindness of God is shown in that He delays His wrath giving sinners time to repent.

Continued on Friday - Part 4: When two or three gather in God’s Name He is there among us. Whatever they bind and loose on earth shall be bound and loosed in heaven. In the meantime here is a very provocative video to watch . . . if you dare!

Go On To Part 4
Go Back To Part 2
Go Back To Part 1


Cameron Buettel said...

Watch out for people twisting this verse. It is used by people who want to sound like they have some theological depth.

Heath The Blogless said...

Speaking of Joel Osteen; John MacArthur has a great presentation about him and others like him here.

j said...

loving the series thus far brother. Can't wait for more!