Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Romans 2:4
So often today, the message we hear is “God loves you.” While this is true, is it God’s love that we should be preaching to bring people to repentance? Many people would answer “yes” and use Romans 2:4 as support for that. But is the goodness in Romans 2:4 referring to God’s love? If you look in the context, you will read about God’s judgment and his holiness. The context mentions nothing about God’s love or about his desire to have a relationship with people. So how does God’s judgment and holiness have anything to do with his goodness? It is because of God’s goodness – because of how good he is – that he must judge sin and unrighteousness. It is because we fall so far short of God’s perfect standard of goodness and holiness, we must face his righteous judgment.
It is when we realize how holy and how good God truly is, we will repent of our sins. Knowing his goodness will lead us to repentance.