Well, we have the theme of the goodness of God and the title of our message, “Abusing the goodness of God.” Turn to Romans chapter 2...Romans chapter 2, the great Magna Carta of the gospel, the great book of Romans, chapter 2, and I want to read you the opening five verses of chapter 2 as we focus on abusing the goodness of God.
Romans chapter 2 and verse 1: “Therefore you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself that you will escape the judgement of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness or goodness, and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness or goodness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”
Now the word I want to direct your attention to is found twice in verse 4, translated in the NAS, which I read, as kindness. If you have an Authorized Version, the familiar King James, it will be translated “goodness...goodness.” In fact, traditionally it has been translated goodness and in many newer translations, kindness.
Kindness is a good way to explain goodness here because it is not goodness as opposed to badness. It is not that God is good as opposed to bad. It is that He is good in the sense of being benevolent. The word here, chrestotes means good in the sense of being generous, good in the sense of merciful, good in the sense of kind, and so kindness is an apt translation of this word. Its equivalent in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word chesed which basically is translated loving kindness. That is the attribute of God that we want to focus on. God is possessed by an innate good will toward sinners, an innate kindness. God is by nature merciful, tender-hearted, compassionate. God withholds judgment. God grants benevolent favors because it is His nature. It is a reason to praise Him. It is a reason to honor Him. It is a reason to worship Him....