Food for Friday

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

High on a mountain sits a lovely old castle, inhabited by a kindly couple who love to have visitors, and who love to treat their visitors to the best of hospitality. There is only one catch: the castle is surrounded by steep cliffs, and the only way to reach it is by a cable car that the couple has had installed for their use and that of those who would visit them. In their generosity, the owners frequently send the cable car down to the bottom of the mountain with an invitation to come up and visit. And many people have visited and enjoyed their time with the kindly couple. But there are some who refuse to get into the cable car, not trusting it. Others shun the cable car and try to climb up to the castle by looking for their own path. Those people never get to the castle. And some of them complain of how unfair it is of the owners to provide only one way to reach the castle. This little story is an allegory of how so many people despise the riches of God’s goodness and forebearance and longsuffering.

Just like me, you have heard people say they don’t believe a loving God would ever send anyone to hell. In a way, they are right; God does not send anyone to hell; people travelling on the broad road to destruction consign themselves to hell by refusing or neglecting the provision God has made for them to escape hell and reach Heaven. It is as though they would retranslate Jesus’ words ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ (John 14:6) into ‘I am one of the ways, part of the truth, and some of the life’. Just as the castle owners in our story provided at their own expense a cable car for their visitors, so God has at infinite cost provided poor sinners with the means of delivery from hell and certainty of Heaven. Why would God ever send His Son to the shameful agony of the cross if there were some other way to provide his salvation? It is only His goodness that caused Him to do it.

In this portion of the book of Romans, Paul is addressing the unsaved about their wrong attitudes about God and His salvation. But in these words, those of us who have been saved can rejoice that the Holy Spirit strove with us to stop despising the goodness of God. The goodness of God led us to repentance, and then to faith in Christ. And we have come to appreciate the riches of that goodness and firebearance and longsuffering. We love to talk about these great riches now, and will be occupied with them for all eternity, when we understand them better than we do now.

Don’t despise those you see around you despising the richness of God’s goodness. You used to be the same. -Jim MacIntosh

Comments are closed.