Summary: Today, I want us to consider the goodness of God. The goodness of God is designed to appeal to our better nature and cause us to respond favorably to God. The purpose of God's goodness and forbearance is not to encourage sin, but to appeal to man's better
The Goodness of God
Romans 2:4 “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
In the book of Romans, Paul introduces the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only means for an unrighteous man to be made righteous in the sight of God. Romans 1:16 states,
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Faith in Jesus Christ and his finished work is God's only remedy for lost humanity. Then Paul moves to his doctrine of Man. He shows that the whole human race had a desperate need of righteousness. The Gentiles who had no written law were sinners by nature and stood guilty before an absolute Holy God because they refused to obey the natural law written in their hearts and minds. They willfully violated their conscience and preferred darkness rather than light. Paul goes on to say in Romans 1:21,
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
Then in Romans 1:25,
“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
Finally, Paul concludes Romans chapter one by saying in verse 28 through 32,
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
With full knowledge, mankind willfully walked in disobedience. Besides that, the Jews judged and condemned the Gentiles while they themselves were guilty of the same sin. The Jews were given the divine Law of God, and clearly understood the standard of God, but still they willfully disobeyed God’s Laws. So God gave them up to their own sinful desires. Their foolish hearts were darkened and their minds were reprobate. God left them to their own ideas. Soon they were involved in gross sex sins and doing things that were unseemly. Homosexuality and lesbianism were rampant. They degraded their bodies and sought to do evil rather than good. They worshiped and served the creation more than the creator. Their thoughts were evil continually. It is amazing how willfully they sinned against God, His goodness and His mercy towards them. The Gentiles sinned against their God-given conscience and the light God had placed in their hearts, while the Jews sinned against the written Law of God, the voice of the prophets and their own conscience. They were both equally guilty before a Holy God. God allowed and tolerated their sin for a season that their sin might appear to be exceedingly sinful, so that the Jews and Gentile alike might see their need for God’s forgiveness and grace. Without God’s grace and mercy, both were hopelessly lost and without remedy.
In Romans chapter two, Paul presents his argument in a question and answer style. He simply asks, “Do you think that you will escape the judgment of God?” “Despisest thou the riches of His goodness, forbearance and longsuffering?” “Don't you realize that the goodness of God leadeth to repentance?”
Today, I want us to consider the goodness of God. The goodness of God is designed to appeal to our better nature and cause us to respond favorably to God. The purpose of God's goodness and forbearance is not to encourage sin, but to appeal to man's better nature, to give him further opportunity that might lead him to repentance. The Bible states in 2 Peter 3:9,
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
God is not willing that a single sinner should perish. He is patient and kind, hoping that his goodness will draw them unto himself. Every sinner that goes into judgment and hell without Christ will go there against the will of God. I realize that some sinners use God's goodness as an opportunity to prolong their sinfulness but that is not what God intended. One theologian said, 'They (sinners) melt the mercies of God into bullets, and shoot them at the breast of the Almighty." Paul gives us three signs that mankind has been given over to a reprobate mind: First, man was given over to uncleanness. Mankind was dominated by passionate desires for forbidden sexual pleasure, so God gave them over to sexual pleasure that degraded their body. Secondly, God gave them over to shameful homosexual and lesbian passions. They lost the natural God-given use of sex. And finally, God gave them over to reprobate minds that seek to justify their unrighteous actions desiring evil rather than good.