January 24, 2018

Silence Is Not Always Golden

Romans 2:4–5

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Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.

In Context:

1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.

Silence Is Not Always Golden

Bio | Hannah Quinn

Hello, fellow adventurers! I've been married to my high school sweetheart for almost eight years. God sharpens and encourages us daily with the privilege of parenting two smart and rambunctious toddlers who fill our house with chaos and our hearts with joy. I've been editing The Journey for four years and love being a part of what God is doing through His Word!

I have been journeying with Christ since I was a small child, but it wasn't many years ago that I, too, presumed on the riches of God's kindness, but in His patience He called me to repentance!

Central Truth

Christ did not die on the cross to blanket us in forgiveness so that we could live life in whatever way we think best. Rather, He sacrificed His life to demonstrate His eternal kindness and patience so that we might see His gift and wholeheartedly yearn to trust and follow Him.

Devotional | Romans 2:4–5

With the foundation of absolute truth shattered, our world is hopelessly sinking in a sea of popular opinion. Today, truth is a wavy line that curves and bends to the will of those with the loudest...

With the foundation of absolute truth shattered, our world is hopelessly sinking in a sea of popular opinion. Today, truth is a wavy line that curves and bends to the will of those with the loudest voices. If you're not in agreement, you're ostracized, regardless of the respectfulness of your tone or the validity of your arguments.

But silence is too often a chosen state rather than a forced one. Why are we not always the strongest voices in our homes, workplaces, and communities? God's truth is more powerful than anyone or anything we will ever encounter in our time here, and yet, we often shiver in fear at even the prospect of shame or ridicule. This is my ever-present struggle: a failure to trust God's power in the midst of my conversations to open a door to His grace. As a recovering people-pleaser, it's so much easier for me to avoid the conflict, the unpopular opinion, than to open my mouth and reveal the truth of God's Word. Paul said that he was "not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). 

God's forgiveness is not a license to act or live in whatever manner we deem right, even when that belief is prevalent around us. God's kindness, patience, and forbearance (holding back judgment) exist not to exempt us from obedience but to reveal the goodness and faithfulness of our Creator. He desires our repentance more than anything else because He seeks a relationship with us. And so, He stays His hand, letting His creation presume on the "riches of His kindness" so that we may one day might find redemption.

While God now withholds His coming day of wrath (Revelation 6:17), He has called you and me, like Paul, to bring Truth into the darkness around us and to let His power shatter the impenitent hearts. Through Paul's boldness in this letter to the Romans, God brought the power of the gospel to you. Let His grace be your voice and let His power overcome every hurdle you fear today.

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Discussion Questions

1. Are you a strong voice in your local community, boldly proclaiming the Word of God regardless of the social implications, or have you, like me, often chosen silence instead?

2. In what ways have you presumed on the riches of God's kindness, taking advantage of His patience and forgiveness? Are there things that still require your repentance?

3. What can you do daily to guard against a "hard and impenitent heart"?

4. Are you following God's calling to help others before the day of His righteous judgment? If so, what are you doing? If not, how can you be faithful to this calling today?

28 Comments available

William Breazeale 10 months ago

I too am prone to have a hard heart and a silent voice due to my people pleasing. I must learn to trust God, and trust the truth that God’s Word reveals!

John Rode 11 months ago

Thanks Hannah! The question of when to speak up and when to be silent is something I struggle with. The world proclaims the idea of love without a need for absolute truth. While I believe in the absolute truth of God’s word sometimes I find myself proclaiming truth without a loving spirit. And sometimes I withhold truth out of fear of losing favor in the eyes of the world. Truth should come with love and love should come with truth. If we are afraid I wonder if it is rooted somewhere in a lack of love. I think this is what Paul did so well. He was bold and fearless because he loved God and loved people. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…he who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

Bobby Crotty 11 months ago

Justin McElvain, thanks for your question! Context is always the key in understanding Scripture. From Romans 1:18–3:21, Paul is making the point that all men are sinners and deserve God’s righteous wrath. There is no mention of Christ from Rom 1:18–3:20. Thus, Paul is building the case that this is what happens to all who are without Christ and the salvation that He alone provides. Without Christ we indeed have hard, impenitent hearts. But Jesus changes hearts.

Paul makes the same point in Ephesians 2:1-3. Then he likewise begins Ephesians 2:4-5 with another grace “but” and demonstrates that God makes the dead alive in Christ.

We must be careful not to draw theological principles from passages that are making another point entirely. Does this make sense?

Happy to visit further at bcrotty@watermark.org.

Bobby Crotty The Journey Team

Justin McElvain 11 months ago

I’m confused about the “once saved, always saved” belief when it comes to this passage and the discussion I’m reading. Any clarity would be appreciated because it sounds like someone would inherit death/hell for an unrepentant heart who is stubbornly pursuing sin. What if this person was genuinely saved then went through a valley in life rebelling against God and all the while knowing that his or her actions were wrong? Does this person inherit death/hell or just suffer the physical consequences here on earth (possible physical death) but yet still have eternal life in heaven? I know this is complicated, but these are questions going through my head I don’t know the answer to. Thanks.

Kenneth Harrington 11 months ago

Is God Love or is Love God?

Linda Aland 11 months ago

We are called to be “on mission” and God’s ambassadors for a fallen world. Loving people, serving them, sharing our story with them and staying out of the way as the Holy Spirit draws them to Jesus is what God expects from us. Trying to be faithful to this calling daily…

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

How hard can a heart get? Zechariah 7:12 (ESV) “They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts.” Whether as hard as a diamond, flint or other rock, a heart can get pretty hard, but God can make water flow out of a rock

James Rener 11 months ago

Thank You Hannah for today’s Devo. Hope all is well with the JTJ community, love ya’ll.

John Cortez 11 months ago

I believe that LOVE is fundamental key to being bold for Christ and sucessfully sharing the gospel of Jesus. Through my walk with Christ and through the holy spirit, I am learning to love people more. I believe that as I do, I will be more motivated to share the gospel, since my desire to save people from eternal punishment grows. Love compels me to communicate the good news. Love through god’s word provokes conviction about sin and at the same time stirrs up desire for salvation. I used to remain silent because I feared rejection and humiliation more than I loved people. Not anymore! I am evolving through Christ who strengthens me.

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

@Hope… regarding ‘God gives us ability to choose life or death’ … I would say yes and no… no because Jesus said ‘you did not choose Me I chose you’… yes because we choose according to the desires of our hearts but there is a sense where a fallen person with a fallen heart will not hunger and thirst for righteousness without grace … and it partly depends… I agree with you if you mean someone with a new nature in Christ as they struggling with the old

Jennifer Borgne 11 months ago

If I could edit, I’d capitolize the h in He and add: I am also Callous, stubborn and impenitent. I am grateful that He IS NOT blind, He sees me. He does not dispise me, He loves me. He is not stubborn, He is patient with me. He is my wealth… He is everything.

Jennifer Borgne 11 months ago

I have been all of the things in this passage speaks have: blind, presumptuous, underestimating him… Unmindful, ignorant of the fact that he is everything!

Alma Barber 11 months ago

By the grace of God, and the reading/study of His Word, I have discovered a sweetness of approval in Christ that is unlike anything the world could ever offer me. When we discover who we are in Christ, and decide to live for an audience of one, it’s easier to not concern ourselves with (only) living to please others -by tickling their ears in only saying what is popular belief and what they want to hear. When we die to ourselves, and let Him live in us (Gal. 2:20), we will understand that we are not put on this earth to win popularity contests. We are called to speak the truth in love, share the gospel with others and point them to the cross-while trusting that it is ONLY the goodness of God and the Holy Spirit-who will lead them to repentance.

Joel Holyoak 11 months ago

Thanks for pointing out the need to be a strong voice to boldly proclaim God’s word. I am a Scoutmaster and I do my best to present a Biblical Worldview. Focus on the Family recognized the issues of relative truth when it created “The Truth Project.” I can remember participating in men’s groups covering the course and teaching the series to my home ministery group as well as professional groups. We just need to be a voice in the world.

greg jones 11 months ago

Paul warns readers against being the wrong example of Luke 18:9.

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

What does it say about us if our words about Jesus cost us a relationship with people he would consider a friend? It’s okay to be quiet sometimes.

Great job with the devotional today Hannah, you challenged me on when to speak up and when to remain quiet.

Georgia Littlejohn 11 months ago

Thank you for today’s message. So much to think about and pray about. I wouldn’t say I’m silent but want to be so much better in understanding and spreading His word without be afraid of saying something wrong. I will be strong in His word.

Burlon Leffall III 11 months ago

My previous answer is specifically about sharing the gospel. As far as things in society, fear prevents me from participating in ways that make me think that I’m distracting from the gospel. I generally take the Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah approach-“you can choose to, but I’m not because God’s way is better” That’s a challenging question, though. Is it better for people to have stronger ‘apples to apples’ view of believers despite a world with no boundaries so that God is more present in our fruit than our words and declarations? maybe. If I ‘break silence’ on a thing it has to be solely for the righteousness of God and for love of people. It is a personal challenge to trust God with being linked to people who carry themselves like rivals at a college football game as opposed to ambassadors of Christ.

Burlon Leffall III 11 months ago

Thanks Hanna! Q1| My silence seen in a few scenarios: -My pride doesn’t want me to get cornered into to having to say ‘I don’t know.’ -Fear of numbers and loss of command in a conversation with a mixed group. (esp. people in earshot of a 1-on-1 who barely follow Christ or “used to”=muddy water) -The scoffer who makes me feel like I’m about to interact with the most angry, mistreated house cat in the history of man. Silence. All are driven by fear. All put too much expectation on my ability and not God’s. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

I like how the ESV uses the impatience of God. “Judges 10:16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel.” God takes no delight in the death of a sinner but does delight in showing mercy, love and seeing repentance.

Trey Collins 11 months ago

There is so much truth in this small section of scripture. Great job unpacking much Hannah! God’s kindness leads to willing confession, obedience, and freedom. That’s love! But the consequence of rejecting that kindness is righteous judgement. That’s justice! We are placed on earth to be faithful reminders of God’s love and by His grace lead others to Him. Praying for you this morning Hannah!

Donna Fisher 11 months ago

Thanks for this truth

Donna Fisher 11 months ago

Let His grace be your voice and let His power overcome every hurdle you fear today.

Donna Fisher 11 months ago

Let His grace be your voice and let His power overcome every hurdle you fear today.

Christopher Hyland 11 months ago

For many years I was definitely in the business of storing up wrath. I looked and smelled good on the outside but I was not honoring God and I lived a secret life of complete immorality. Guarding against a hard heart is a daily walk in Gods Word and confessing my faults to my CG and my spouse.

Hope Harris 11 months ago

Paul is talking about God’s character He wants all people to repent and turn to Him(Goodness). He offers the way to avoid His judgement through Jesus death and resurrection (Merciful, Gracious). In order for God to remain just and fair He must also render judgement.

In all this, God treats us as responsible creatures. As if what we do matters—as if we matter. He warns us that we are not going the right way, and gives us time to realize this and change.

He treats us with dignity and respect by honoring our choices. and allowing us to experience the consequences of them. He is (fair) because He lays out the consequences and gives the ability to choose life or death.

Sue Bohlin 11 months ago

Thanks, Hannah. Because of how things are unfolding in some places of the church today, I see these verses in a whole new way. There is a “cheap grace” movement assuring people that Jesus is good with their pursuit of same-sex feelings, and He gladly endorses that which His word condemns. So people seize His kindness and instead of it leading to repentance, they go down the path to ongoing, unrepentant sin. Heartbreaking.

Lindsey Driscoll 11 months ago

Hannah, thank you for your work of editing JTJ so that we may gain understanding of God’s word. Q3 - Wow, as a newlywed I see the example of marriage as Christ and the church. In marriage when either of us has stubbornness and an unrepentant heart anger stores up for a proverbial “judgement day” which may or may not include breaking down in tears, withdrawing, yelling to escalate, etc. We can heed the words of 2:5 and ask God to do what Psalm 139:23-24 says; search my heart and show me my sin.

Hugh Stephenson 11 months ago

Will I escape judgement? I used to think so. I was storing up treasures on earth and I thought my deeds would store up treasures in heaven, (MT 6:19-20). Without merit, God was patient with me, (2 Peter 3:9).

When my relationships finally got bad enough I knew the way I was going was not right, (Pr 14:12). In re:gen my “fearless and searching moral inventory” in step 4 ripped the scabs right off. But what set me on the path of healing was a full confession in step 5, (1 John 1:9), and my repentance plans in step 6, (Acts 3:19).

Before Christ I thought I would be tormented by my sins forever, but maybe God would cut me some slack. Paul speaks the truth and shows me the real way to peace.

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