Despise the Riches of His Goodness?

How do we do that?

Romans 2:1-11 (NKJV) again

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.

We’re not supposed to judge. We’re guilty of the same things. And judging others “despises” the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering. What’s the connection between those three things?

We don’t appreciate God’s mercy because we expect it, even demand it. That’s why so many people don’t believe in hell. “There can’t be a hell. God wouldn’t do that.”

Why not? What’s wrong with sending people to hell? What’s the big deal?

And many of the people who do believe in hell think that only the worst tyrants end up there. Why is that? Have they not noticed what goes on around them every day?

Logically, God forgiving us is ridiculous. Sending everyone to hell would be a glorious demonstration of God’s perfect justice and holiness. Anything else needs to be explained.

And the New Testament gives a magnificent explanation—but to us it’s too obvious. There’s no awe.

“Of course God forgives us.” Then, after embracing the wonders of His forgiveness, we won’t forgive others, sometimes for doing the exact same things we expect to be forgiven for.

That’s the connection. That’s how we despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering.

Think about some of your biggest pet peeves (for me, it’s some of the things automobile drivers do). What corrective actions would you like to see applied to them?

Now think of the annoying things you do (if you can’t think of any, get help). What corrective actions should be applied to you?

See the difference? We don’t just take forgiveness for granted; we demand it, as if it’s our right.

This takes a long time just to learn to see, much less fix. Ask God to open your eyes.

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Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.