What Does Romans 2:4 Mean?

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Romans 2:4(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

It was man who brought sin into the world and the wages of sin is death. But sin in all its guises and disguises must be judged, for a holy God cannot look on sin. Sin must be punished, and the ultimate consequence of sin is eternal separation from God - a never-ending divorce from all that is good and clean and lovely and pure and   honourable and righteous and holy. And in the final analysis, the verdict is that man is without excuse.

Paul in his first chapter of the book of Romans builds up the most magnificent and logical argument that the gentile world is guilty before the Lord, for although they knew God they suppressed the truth in unrighteousness. In spite of the overwhelming evidence of His handiwork in the created world around them, and despite the still small voice of conscience within, man became willingly ignorant of God and indulged in such gross idolatry, self-indulgence and self-deification that God gave them over to their depraved minds and abandoned them to their sinful ways.

But it is not only the gentile nations that are identified with this guilty verdict. The people of Israel similarly stand condemned before their God, for all have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God and the perfection of Christ. Paul lays bare the truth that Israel is equally guilty before Him, for despite being brought into covenant relation with the Lord and being given spiritual gifts, including many material privileges and a land flowing with milk and honey, Israel rebelled against God and followed after the way of the gentiles. Israel erroneously thought that because they were given the Law; the Temple; the Priesthood and the Promise, they would be exempt from the wrath of God. But the water-tight argument that Paul was building-up in condemnation of mankind, could arrive at the one possible conclusion - that the judgement of God upon sinful man is inescapable and just.

The hypocritical judgement that man points out in his fellow man is according to his own depraved mind and is inexcusable but the judgement that is in accordance with God is rooted in truth and is founded on His righteous character and His gracious love. And for that reason, we discover the Lord withholding His inevitable judgement on both the children of Israel and the gentile nations.

The wrath of God, which must eventually be poured out on all sin, if His justice is to be fully satisfied was held off, to give man time to repent of His sin. God has been delaying His judgement and postponing His punishment in order to give man every opportunity to repent, for it is not God's will that any should perish, but that all should come to faith in Jesus Christ.

It is the riches of His kindness, His tolerance and patience that has been instrumental in staying judgement on this God-hating, Christ-rejecting sinful world, for every day that His wrath is stayed is one more day of grace, when Jew and Gentile alike are being brought to repentance and turning to faith in Christ. It is due to God's compassion; mercy; long-suffering and kindness that sinners are saved by grace through faith in Christ and are moved out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son.

We are already God's children and are secure in the blessed hope that is ours in Christ, but never let us be tempted to wish our lives away or resent what we perceive to be Christ's delayed return. Any perceived delay is a demonstration of the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, toward lost sinners - which is leading many to repentance but let us rather praise and thank our heavenly Saviour that in Him we have been made citizens of heaven - and will one day receive our heavenly inheritance in Christ.

My Prayer

Father I often take for granted Your loving-kindness and wander far from You. Thank You Father, for Your grace and patient-endurance towards me. I repent; I choose today to turn around; I choose to turn back to You and to turn away from the things that I know have grieved You. Thank You for Your grace, Your love, Your Forbearance and for drawing me back once again into Your arms of comfort. In Jesus name, AMEN.

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