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? – Romans 2:4
It is amazing how many times I have read and considered this verse yet I have missed the main point of what Paul is saying to the Jewish readers.
Do you presume is probably directed against Jews who thought that their covenant relationship with God would shield them from final judgment. After all, they had often experienced his kindness and forbearance and patience. They thought such blessings showed that they were right with God and had no need to trust in Christ, but Paul says the opposite is true: God’s blessings should have led them to repent of their sins. – ESV Study Bible Notes
So often I too am like the Jews. I presume on my initial salvation experience and neglect to remember it is by that same grace that I am walking with Christ today. Repeatedly I find myself taking pride in “all that I have done” rather than rejoicing in God’s goodness and blessing which truly should lead me closer to Him.
Romans 2 also reminded me of the weight of the law and the holiness of God. The law is a reminder that I can’t in and of myself keep it perfectly. This caused me to reflect on the goodness of God in sending Jesus into the world who kept the law perfectly.
I love how the Apostle Paul jumps into chapter one of the Book of Romans describing in length who he is and who God is in him. Paul does not waiver in sharing his credibility with the Romans nor does he waiver in sharing what God has done for him through Jesus Christ. Paul is eager to share with the people in Rome about the gospel of Jesus Christ and he boldly puts forth his mission in Romans 1:16-17.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
Paul is about the gospel, knowing it is only through Jesus that a person can be saved and can continue to follow Jesus Christ. This is one of my favorite passages in Romans 1 because it serves as a reminder to me that the message of Jesus Christ is what brings initial salvation but what also keeps me walking in faith daily. Instead of pulling up my boot straps and seeking to “do more, be better” I can trust that the gospel has the power to save me and keep me! That is good news!
Another passage I spent some time considering is Romans 1:21
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21 ESV)
“The root sin is the failure to value God above all things, so that he is not honored and praised as he should be. Human beings are foolish, not in the sense that they are intellectually deficient but in their rejection of God’s lordship over their lives. They knew God not in a saving sense, but they knew of his existence and his attributes.” – ESV Study Bible Notes
I realize this passage of scripture is referring to those who have never truly experienced new life in Christ but I was convicted about how quickly I value other “things” as greater than God. The way I live day to day, at times, would seem to say that I reject God’s Lordship in my life and I live as one who “knows of” God but does not truly “know” Him. I am thankful the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to convict and change me and that I can trust that gospel has the power to save me and keep me.