The Trifecta: Correction, Kindness, & Repentance
Posted on April 22, 2014
This post is a collision of several ideas rolled into one. So, it may resonate with you deeply or confuse your thoroughly! Regardless, keep calm and carry on! Over the years I have encountered many people who are deeply confused on the subject of God’s correction, His kindness, and repentance. With the brevity of this post, I do not presume to settle the debate today, rather to add my voice (along with others) to the dialogue.
Let me cut to the chase. Does God correct us? Yes! Does His correction violate kindness? No! Is repentance part of a new covenant lifestyle? You bettah believe it! Let’s look at Romans 2:1-4, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth, So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you towards repentance?”
It’s important to remember this portion of scripture comes after Romans 1. Sounds obvious but follow me for a second. Romans 1 (specifically vs. 18-32) is all about the big idea that all men have gone their own way and God in His wisdom allowed them to fully experience the culmination of their deception. It reveals there is a problem that needed a savior. I’m not convinced that it shows God is a vengeful and angry deity. Sure it makes mention of wrath, but it states that wrath is a revelation from Heaven against the problem not against people. And 2 Corinthians 5:21 talks about Jesus becoming sin that we might be righteousness. This revelation helps people realize that He has overcome and their ticket has already been purchased.
It’s in this context that we read chapter 2 of Romans. Paul’s point is to remind the Jews they are not special in terms of the problem and even though they see the issues of the Gentiles, he reminds them they have the same issues as well! Then he opens up the conversation on the nature of God in the midst of sin, which he reiterates over and over again in the book of Romans. Namely God, in the midst of sin responds with kindness towards people because kindness causes repentance! And what is repentance you ask? It is a radical change of mind! The word is made up of two greek words that means “meta – to change” “nois – mind.” Now what I’m not saying is merely making mental ascent and parroting truth. People who just spit out, “Yeah, I know this is the truth, blah blah blah,” usually don’t look like transformed people. There is a grace to own these truths at such a level that you embody them in your lifestyle and it is NOT by the sweat of your own effort to mimic Jesus.
From this place of the full work of Christ, God speaks to us as we really are, not as we are acting. Therefore, He is able to correct us in kindness because He is helping us to rightly align our perspective with our true nature in Him. God models the fruit of the Spirit in His communication with us to cause us to begin to live from our union with Jesus. He doesn’t “get in the flesh” to cause us to “live by the Spirit.”
Here’s the good news: God is relentlessly kind to you in all facets of life! His correction is from His kindness and it causes you to repent, and walk out newness of life by His sustaining power and presence. It is a completely different way to live and the most enjoyable way to live. Take heart my friends, God’s kind correction is a wonderful experience that liberates your heart and increases your love of God and people!