Mankind has also despised the forbearance of God. Forbearance is the holding back of judgment. Longsuffering. As Macarthur says, like a truce. The war is not over, but I’m stopping hostilities for the moment. North and South Korea, you must know, are still at war. But there’s been a decades-long truce, which either side can break at any moment.
In humanity’s case, we break the truce constantly. We despise, we lightly esteem this incredible power of God to take abuse from us. We assume that God’s holding back means everything is OK now. God has gone soft. It’s all been swept under the rug.
Then a bomb drops or a destructive hurricane comes, and we realize God is trying to get our attention, letting us know that his forbearance won’t be forever. That if we do not repent, we will all likewise perish.
“… and longsuffering…”
What is the difference between God “holding back” and God being “longsuffering” or “patient”? This last word has to do with the length of both of the first words. He is kind for a long time. He is good for a long time. He holds back for a long time.
“…not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”
I love to tell my own story of an answered prayer, when I was a little boy. I knew nothing of God and salvation. But I did know that I missed my daddy. He was gone and I wanted to hear from him. He seldom called and when he did, it was to talk to my sister. I never understood until a couple of years ago why I was not favored at home.
Someone suggested I try God, so I did. Totally selfishly I went to God asking for me. No praise and worship, no thanksgiving, no blood of Jesus, just, God, if you are really there, let me hear from my dad tonight. And I did. And I knew there was a God. That He answered prayer. That He cared about me. Was I saved? Not at all, and my life continued to show it, but this goodness of God was one of the steps that eventually led me to salvation.
Paul says, look around. Look inside. Look at all the ways God has shown His goodness to the human race. His kindness to you. Man, you are alive and well and strong and on and on… But you have looked down on those gifts. You have taken them all for granted. You assumed that you deserved it all, and when something was removed you were angry, like all those things belonged to you.
What you did not understand is that God was being good to you so you would love Him. Desire Him. So you would take a look at your life and see if it measured up to what God was wanting from you, which you never even bothered to find out.
So God keeps doing good things in the earth to bring people to Himself. The greatest thing He does is continue to send out His Gospel message into all the world. For, though we will not get through the book of Romans without being strong believers in the doctrine of election, there is another truth that must be set right next to that teaching, that God so loved the world. That He is not willing in His heart of hearts that any should perish. Though He had and has a plan to choose, He has a heart to save, to love. Do you believe that God created Adam with a desire to see him fall into sin and destroy all the goodness of the human race?
Let the tension continue, as Macarthur calls it elsewhere, between the all-consuming love of God for His creatures, and the choosing of some to salvation. Whosoever will may come. Chosen from the foundation of the world.
Back to Romans 2.
Follow his thought. Judges, hypocrites, stop it. You are all sinners, and all men deserve the judgment of God. You cannot escape the judgment of God, and you are wrong to so lightly esteem what God has done for you to bring you to repentance, out of His great love. Here’s where all that leads:
(Continued from 19A above) 2:5 “But in accordance with your hardness and impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath…” Sinners who are not repentant are said to have a hard heart. An unrepentant heart. The...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
2:1 “Therefore…” Since men suppress the truth, and not just a few men here and there, but all men everywhere; and since the entire human race has been given over by God to its own ways, which are universally evil; and since...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
(Continued from Part A above...) 2:2 “But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.” We cannot judge. But God can. And will. Who is the “we”? Paul and the other apostles...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
“…inventors of evil things…” Inventors of evil things. Ingenuity can be a good thing. Creativity. Inventing. New ideas for ways of getting things done. All good. But in the human heart there is the capacity for inventing...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
(continued from 17A above) “…unloving…” KJV is closer to the truth here, “without natural affection” , hard-hearted toward kindred is the implication of the Greek. Stergo is to cherish affectionately. Astorgos...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
“…whisperers…” Translated “gossip” in newer versions of the Bible, and defined as “slander” by Paul. It is the employment of the human tongue to destroy someone you don’t particularly care...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Continued from Part 16A above... “…proud…” Self-explanatory, yes? Maybe. Maybe not. Huperephanos . The prefix huper means above. Phanos, an appearing, or shining. “Appearing above” others. Seeming to be above...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
“…covetousness..” Boom! Got most of the audience already! Ever wanted something you didn’t need? Ever visited a home and said, “Sure wish I had that”? Covetousness is the national sin. It’s the Greek word...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
1:27 “Likewise also the men…” Of the 3.5% mentioned [in the "gay" community] above, about 1/3 are women, 2/3 are men. But the “likewise” ties it all together to let us know that initial gender is not the issue. Men...[ abbreviated | read entire ]