(You can download last week’s bulletin here, and previous sermons here.)
Any parent knows the sort of patience required to raise children. Often, patience is thought of as simply turning a blind eye to personal offenses, or at its best, letting a slight “roll off.” There is a sense in which, as imperfect beings, we must do these things in patience. Romans 2:4 is a passage like so many others who’s point can be completely missed if you aren’t careful. I’ve been a fan of the warm feelings associated with the idea that “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” But what does the text around that phrase say? When we look at it in context, it’s not as easy to get the fuzzies.
“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 2:2-5
It is certainly true that God’s patience and kindness are meant to lead us to repentance, but this is no passive, permissive patience and kindness. This is a patience and kindness that says “I can do this all day, all week, all year, until you relent.” This is a patience and kindness which is perfect and immovable, which cannot, will not leave us to our destructive paths, but will persevere with even the harshest discipline to sanctify us. And all of THIS is meant to lead us to repentance.
So come, let us gather for worship, let us greet the Lord our Maker, our Redeemer, and the Perfecter of our Faith.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
– Hebrews 12:11
Scripture: Jeremiah 25:1-38
Sermon: “The Patient Wrath of God”
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