It is a very tender and loving statement of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Rome that “the kindness of God leads you to repentance.”
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)
Is there any man of faith who doesn’t melt at this statement as he trembles to think of what might have been had God not shown Him such kindness?
My father used to joke about little children being asked to sing the old hymn lyrics,
Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.
Maybe not children, but what man brought by God’s mercy to the gifts of repentance and faith does not quickly and without hesitation affirm this truth? That he too wasted years in vanity and pride?
This is what the Apostle Paul speaks of here in Romans. Prior to our new birth, our being born again, we did think lightly of God’s abundant kindness, tolerance, and patience. We most certainly did.
Some of us even thought He owed them to us. And today, many of us who are now believers think He owes the same to those who haven’t yet repented and believed—especially our loved ones. We presume on God’s kindness, assuming what He did for us He’ll do for our loved ones, also.
But make no mistake: this tolerance, patience, and kindness of God we see as we look backwards is not in any slightest way His duty. It is the very nature of kindness that no one may demand it of us.
We who have finally come to faith owe much gratitude and thanksgiving to God—that He was patient, showing us kindness as gently or not-so-gently He led us to repentance. What love!
Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heav’n, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art.
Visit us with thy salvation;
enter ev’ry trembling heart.
But again, God did not owe it to us, nor does he now owe it to 0ur sons and daughters currently living in vanity and pride. There are inbreaking judgments of God sent as warnings of His wrath and judgment. Consider His drowning of all the men and beasts in the time of Noah. His burning up of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah. His turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt. His striking Nadab and Abihu, Uzzah, and Ananias and Sapphira dead during their very acts of worship.
No, never forget that our tolerant, patient, and kind Heavenly Father who gave us repentance owes no such tolerance, patience, and kindness to anyone ever. It is His free gift to us that of His Own sovereign choice He served us in this way.
Don’t be presumptuous about your loved ones. Make no demands of God, requiring Him to pay any debt You believe He owes your sons and daughters.
Rather, remind Him of His promises and plead with Him for their souls.
On the other hand, don’t just plead with your daughter or son. Command her. Command him. This was the means of God fulfilling His promises to Abraham:
For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him. (Genesis 18:19)
If it helps to think this way, consider that your commands given your sons and daughters are the very kindnesses of God that lead them to repentance. Tell them your own account of God’s kindness; of His tolerance and patience you experienced yourself. Then emphasize to them how tenuous is their existence. They must never presume on God’s kindness toward themselves.
Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years.
Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, “They always go astray in their heart, and they did not know My ways”; as I swore in My wrath, “They shall not enter My rest.” (Hebrews 3:7-11)
There is no slightest incompatibility between the wrath of God and the love of God. Both and. Praise Him for both and tremble at His Word.