"Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering...?"
Text: Romans 2:4
MISINTERPRETING THE GOODNESS OF GOD
Paul was a very sharp theologian. He understood and saw things that escaped the eye of the judgmental Jews. The following text well illustrates this.
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance,
and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God
leads you to repentance?
1. The goodness of the Lord
There is no denying the goodness of the Lord to Israel, from Abraham to the present moment. Paul singled out three aspects of God’s goodness.
a) The riches of His goodness
The riches of God’s goodness may be seen most obviously:-
i) The spiritual blessings
ii) The physical (material) blessings
i) God had been most gracious and merciful to Israel, despite its sinfulness.
ii) God had been most forbearing with His people for millennia.
i) No God could be described as more longsuffering.
ii) Forgiveness, grace, mercy etc had been displayed to an erring nation.
2. Mistaken for blessings
Paul knew the heart of the problem. He knew that the Jews had mistaken all the above as indications of God’s blessing and approval! The Jews couldn’t be more wrong!
The Jews saw the gracious hand of God on their lives, and they assumed that they were blessed because of the covenantal promise given to Abraham. Paul saw that the reverse was true. God had shown much compassion and mercy. These expressions of mercy (goodness, forbearance, longsuffering) should have caused the Jews to come to grateful repentance to the Lord! They should have realized that the blessings they received did not come about because they were good. Repentance was a must!