Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
There are many ways in which God leads a person to repent and turn from sin that breaks his law and his heart, building and storing up God’s wrath. Sin is toxic to our spiritual health, so much so that God hates it. But ironically, according to Romans 2:4, he often uses combinations of revealing his goodness, patient tolerance (by withholding wrath), overflowing generosity, and merciful kindness, to melt our hard heart and lead us along the path of sorrow and repentance so we can turn from our sin to receive Jesus and his forgiveness.
When we see God change a heart in this way, it can be catching. The biblical record was all 120,000 people in Nineveh. We are taught that their hearts were beyond hard, as in cruel, torturous and insensitive. But humility, godly sorrow, confession and rejection of sin has a way of getting God’s attention and activating his forgiveness. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (with Jesus’ blood). [1 John 1:9] I believe first John one focuses on the fellowship believers enjoy with God and each other, and how to restore fellowship when we drift off course into sin!
So, how can we partner with the Holy Spirit to prompt others to repent? Certainly we can share the good news of Jesus blood payment for all our sins, and invite them to be reconciled by believing and receiving Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And we can share our testimony of what Jesus has done for us. But Romans 2:4 reveals something in addition to prayer to help soften hearts. That includes letting God transform me to receive and demonstrate his kindness to them, even in ways they don’t deserve. Kindness leads to repentance. It’s hard to resist God’s kindness, love, and forgiveness when we know we don’t deserve it. Jesus tells us that whoever is forgiven much, loves much, and that love covers a multitude of sins.
To tie a bow on this, one of my favorite verses is Ephesians 2:7 which promises that for us believers, God plans to demonstrate his mercy to us throughout eternity, expressed by his kindness to us. So why not get started today, believing, receiving, and absorbing his kindness, so we can generously anoint others with it, so he can use it to soften their hearts? Kindness is also recommended in Titus 2:4 for wives’ optimal impact on their husband and others- a beautiful way to adorn God’s word with our transformed lives.