“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).
What does Paul mean when he says this person despises the riches of Christ’s goodness? The word for despised
here means, “He could not think it possible.” In other words, this
believer said, “Such grace and mercy isn’t possible. I can’t fathom it.”
It didn’t fit into his theology. So, instead of accepting it, he set
his mind against it.
Why couldn’t the ungrateful servant of Matthew 18:23-35
accept the king’s grace? There is one reason: he didn’t take seriously
the enormity of his sin. Yet, the king had already told him, “You’re
free. There’s no more guilt, no more claim upon you, no probation or
works required. All you need to do now is focus on the goodness and
forbearance I’ve shown to you.”
Tragically, a person who doesn’t accept love is not capable of loving
anyone else. Instead, he becomes judgmental toward others. That’s what
happened to this servant. He missed the whole point of the king’s mercy
to him. You see, God’s forbearance and unmerited forgiveness are meant
for one thing: to lead us to repentance. Paul asks, “Don’t you realize
that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”
It’s clear from the parable that this is the reason the master
forgave his servant. He wanted this trusted man to turn away from his
own works of flesh to rest in the king’s incredible goodness. Such rest
would free him to love and forgive others in return. But instead of
repenting, the servant went away doubting his master’s goodness. He
determined to have a contingency plan. And despising the king’s mercy,
he treated others with judgment.
Can you imagine the tortured mind of such a person? This man left a
sacred place of forgiveness, where he experienced his master’s goodness
and grace. But instead of rejoicing, he despised the thought of such
unmitigated freedom. I tell you, any believer who thinks God’s goodness
is impossible opens himself to every lie of Satan. His soul has no rest.
His mind is in constant turmoil. And he’s continually fearful of
I wonder how many Christians today live this tortured existence. Is
that why there is so much strife, so many divisions in the Body of
Christ? Is it why so many ministers are at odds, why so many
denominations refuse to fellowship with each other?