I think I am going to write a series of short posts called “What if…” By “series” I mean this could be the only article, or I might write more. It really depends on how I feel. That’s the cool thing about blogging. You only write when you want write. The idea behind this series (if I decide to right it) is to take verses from the Bible and ask the question, “What if the bible really meant what it said,” and then apply that verse to topics that are going on in society.
So, let’s try it out: The Apostle Paul wrote, “(Do you not realize that) God’s kindness leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4, the parenthesis is added to help with context). What if Paul really meant that God’s kindness leads to repentance?
I guess we should back up and put this verse in context. Beginning in Romans 1:18, Paul talks about the wrath of God being revealed because of people’s wickedness. (Since we are people, Paul is talking about our wickedness.) He states that our wickedness leads us to suppress the truth. He goes on to state that no one has an excuse for not acknowledging God because God has revealed Himself through creation. Yet, even though God tried to make Himself known, our pride has caused us to rebel against Him, and as a result, God has given us over to our own sinful desires, shameful lusts, and depraved minds. Part of this wickedness, Paul says, is homosexuality. But part of this wickedness is also envy and slander and arrogance. (If you read the entire context you will find a wickedness that you have been a part of, thus, “all have sinned,” Rom. 3:23.) Because of our wickedness (all of us are equally wicked), God has every right to pass judgment on us, and His judgment is “based on truth” (Rom. 2:2). On the other hand, our judgment of others is not based on truth, regardless of how religious we think you are! Paul writes, “So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” (Rom. 2:3). In other words, when you condemn homosexuality, or judge people who struggle with sexual identity, while at the same time being guilty of strife, deceit, malice, gossip (ouch!), slander, arrogance, and pride, you are showing “contempt for the richest of (God’s) kindness, tolerance and patience” (Rom. 2:4). (Again, if you have not, go back and read Romans 1:18-32, especially vv. 28-32.)
God has every right to judge you! God has every right to judge me. God would be just in sending you and me to hell, right now! We are without excuse! But instead of judging us, God has shown us grace and patience and tolerance and kindness. It was God’s kindness, not His wrath, that brought you and me to a place of repentance! Likewise, His kindness, not His wrath (nor our judgmental attitudes) is what will lead others to repentance.
Now, let’s be honest with ourselves. Over the last several days, has the world seen kindness, or venom, expressed toward Target and people who are truly struggling with sexual identity? Has the world seen kindness or bigotry spewed by people, who themselves, have been saved by the kindness of God?
If we really believed that Paul really meant what he said about God’s kindness, should we not also be kind? If we truly believe the Bible to be God’s Word, should we not allow it to dictate how we act and react in a secular/humanistic society?
What if Paul really meant it when he said God’s kindness leads to repentance?