This is What Makes People Repent
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? Romans 2:4
Repent! Now there’s a word that makes us uncomfortable.
Have you ever seen someone angrily preaching repentance on a street corner? Repentance is necessary to follow Jesus–the Bible talks about repentance more than 30 times. But the place at which we go wrong when it comes to understanding our need for repentance, is what brings us to the place of seeing our need. Scripture says, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4 NLT). Did you catch it? “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance” (Romans 2:4 ESV). Not condemnation. Not threat. Not fear.
The gospel of Luke records Jesus’ story about a fig tree that never did what it was supposed to do: bear figs. The owner of the tree waited 3 years for fruit and then told his gardener to cut it down. The gardener said, “Let me dig around it, nourish it with fertilizer and give it one more year” (Luke 13: 1-9).
In the same way, God gives us many chances in extending His kind, tolerant patience to us. God’s Spirit speaks gently to us, wooing us back, calling us to own and turn from our sin. He has made clear the actions and attitudes that separate us from relationship with His holiness.
Let’s remember God’s way to repentance with the people in our lives who need it greatly. But first, we need to respond to God’s offer of forgives and relationship. God is just. He gives second chances. But there will also be a last chance.