Monday, April 20, 2009

Is Repentance Motivated by Judgment?

I believe that Christians often think that correction and judgment are the motivations that lead one to repentance. Or, at the least the prospect of judgment should keep one out of sin. While I would agree that there is truth to this statement, the apostle Paul gives a unique angle to the motivation of repentance.

And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Rom 2:3-4)

The context of these verses flow from the preceding chapter. In chapter one, Paul shows the utter sinfulness and depravity of the Gentiles. As he continues on, he brings worth an imaginary respondent. This person is agreeing with what he said in the previous chapter (Most think that Paul is implying that this person is a Jew). He condemns the Gentiles and yet is involved in the very same actions.Paul swiftly responds that the judgment that is coming on the Gentiles is also coming to this man. What is interesting is that Paul accuses him of despising the goodness. forbearnace, and longsuffering of God. These three graces should have caused this man to repent.

When we find ourselves struggling with sin, it is important to remember these three blessings. God's goodness is seen as Luther puts it... the abounding fullness of His temporal and spiritual benefactions such as the blessings of body and soul, the free use of benefactions such as the blessings of body and soul, the free use of His creatures, the services which they render man, the protection of the holy angles, and the like.
We find that God also forbears our sins. Rather than judging us instantly, he withholds his wrath. Even more amazingly, his long-suffering continues to wait on our repentance.

These three truths should cause us not only to repent but to praise His greatness.


  1. God's goodness should lead men to repentance! I agree. It is amazing when you stop to actually think about what this is saying. His goodness out of all His attributes it is His goodness. Truly amazing. I was reminded of a song from Cross Movement Records by Flame with the title "goodness to repentance".

  2. It's amazing Philip. That was the first song that came to my mind as well :)