Monday, February 29, 2016
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? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. Romans 2:4-11(NLT)
What do God and a mother cat who takes in an orphaned raccoon have in common? The momma cat in our picture lives with her babies – her kitten and the ring-tailed raccoon child. The raccoon baby was found in the bushes on Paris Island, SC by a Marine Drill Sergeant while his platoon was on maneuvers. He is now the official platoon mascot! And, according to the report, Momma cat shows no favoritism when it comes to meal time.
It’s not a hard leap from there to talk about the impartiality and equal opportunity of Jehovah, the God of equality in both kindness and judgment – everyone’s His target!
Paul begins with God’s wonderful kindness, patience, and tolerance; but the apostle does not leave out God’s righteous judgment for those, who, in their stubborn rebelliousness leave God little choice.
This is the equal opportunity of God – His first choice is to bless us as we come close to Him and walk with Him as friend with friend, learning to obey His commands and learn to live into the purpose for which we were created.
Our problem (and it IS OUR PROBLEM) is that we know this and still want to break away. Most of our praying is for forgiveness of first-degree sin – that which we knew was wrong, but did it anyway; our selfish will was bigger than our Godly obedience. We wait to pray afterward, because we know we’d never have gotten permission beforehand!
King David understood this:
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. Rescue me from my rebellion. Do not let fools mock me. I am silent before you; I won’t say a word, for my punishment is from you.
A Roman centurion came to Jesus because his child was gravely ill; Jesus asked him a question – do you believe? The soldier’s answer was: I believe; please help me get over my unbelief.
The question from God about the blessing or judgment we receive, to which there can be no suggestion of God’s favoritism or uneven access, is two-fold simple:
Do we obey; and in our predisposition to disobey, will we ask permission first?