Romans 2: God is Kind, yet God is Firm.

Earlier this year, we took a journey together through the Old Testament book of  Isaiah. Paul, as a learned rabbi and the author of the letter to the church at Rome, quoted regularly from the Prophet. So, let’s take the next few weeks together to look at the New Testament book of Romans.

Romans 2:1-11.
This is the whole essence of our relationship with Father God. He’s kind. But sometimes He has to take us firmly by the hand. I’m reminded about a time when I was a really young child and we were on a family vacation in Washington, D.C. We were waiting to cross a very busy intersection when I darted out into traffic. I’ll never forget how hard my dad grabbed my hand and yanked me away from an oncoming car as its tires screeched. It saved my life!
God does that for us. He saves us in spite of ourselves. I believe sometimes He allows obstacles to come into our lives that we might perceive to be everything from speed bumps to twenty-foot tall walls. Do you ever wonder if those stumbling blocks are the result of sin? Might our difficulties be His way of leading us, in kindness, to change what we are doing? Why would He do that?

Ultimately, it’s all about radical life change.

“But all who do right will be rewarded with glory, honor, and peace.” (Romans 2:10, CEV).
God wants us to enjoy the beautiful rewards of following Him…  glory, honor, and peace. 
Ultimately, it’s all about radical life change. Are you willing to live that kind of life? A life that is radically different? A life of total surrender and complete obedience? Radically changed? This might be a great season to engage in self-reflection. What are some habits that you might need to release? What are some new disciplines that would be beneficial? I heard a pastor encourage his flock recently by saying, “When this is over, let’s not go back to normal. That was awful! Let’s look forward to a new normal!”
We will take a deeper dive into Romans 12 later in this study. This is how I would define radical life change:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2, MSG).
Let’s all be better in the upcoming season than we’ve been previously. Let’s raise the bar. Can we make a commitment to improving our lives, even if in just one simple way? Radical life change can begin with a small step or a large one.  For example, you don’t have to sign up to run a marathon, but maybe tomorrow you take a walk around the neighborhood for the first time in years? Or you actually read that book on your bedside table? Or you commit to serving or volunteering?
Take your hand in His and let Him lead you today. He sees deep in your heart. Let Him bring out the best of you. Let Him develop well-formed maturity in you.
(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

So Good.

God is kind, but he’s not soft.

What is something that is “so good” you can’t live without it? You may recall the old ketchup TV ad that used a creative pun to promote their condiment as being “slowwww gooood.”

During the summer months some may have a favorite vacation spot that is “so good!” Others might find it to be an escape with a book or movie that is “so good.”

For the Believer, truly God is so, so good to us. He really is!

The Bible is full of promises of the goodness of God. But here’s the thing: God’s goodness does not depend on our goodness. Thanks to His grace, there  is nothing we have to do to earn His goodness.

Paul says it this way: But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do; God accepts sinners only because they have faith in Him. (Romans 4:5 MSG).

God also confirms His goodness through the writings of Solomon: God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. (Lamentations 3:25 MSG)

So, goodness comes to the faithful who wait, to those who seek.

Why is God good to us? Again from Paul:  God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness He takes us by the hand and leads us into a radical life change. (Romans 2:4 MSG)

That’s why He is good to us! It’s not just for the sake of our happiness or joy. No, God is good to us because He wants to see radical life change in us. He wants us to let Him guide us and lead us to true transformation!

And then, as we are inspired to grow, we can have an impact on those around us.  Think about it. If a group of people is inspired to accept God’s goodness, be led by Him, be more like Him, be transformed by Him, that group can collectively have a God-sized impact on the community in which they live. And that’s where God’s goodness get exciting!

You may be feeling like He is distant or ignoring you right now.  The key is to have the faith to believe, to passionately wait and to diligently seek.

You will see Him. And you will see that God is so, so good.


(c) Rich Ronald. 2019.