The Goodness of God Leads to Repentance

Thursday, March 04, 2010 Bryan Hudson 4 Comments

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. (Hebrews 10:1-2)

One of the bad effects of religion that often carries over into Christianity is its focus on man-made solutions to spiritual problems. The Apostle Paul affirms that, "the law is good" (Rom 6:16) to the extent that it highlights the sinfulness of humanity, "so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful." (Rom. 7:13)

For all its righteous commands against sin, in vivid detail, the law could NEVER REMOVE sin from the hearts of people. Equally, all our proclamations against sin, sinners, warnings and threats regarding sin's consequences, and more, never leads people to genuine faith in God. In other words, so long as the "consciousness of sins" remains, people are not truly free.

Too many Christians miss this powerful truth from Romans 2:4: "Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?"

It is God's GOODNESS that leads sinners to repentance, not our legalistic efforts of trying to impose conviction on sinners (and even on Christians!) with statements like, "You are going to burn in hell if you don't repent!"

What sinners need is "purification" from sin. They need to know that God loves them. They need a Gospel and a Savior, whose power alone is sufficient to deliver sinners from their sinful nature. Like Jesus told Nicodemus, the miraculous moment of regeneration is a "New Birth" where, "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6) Either a person is born of the Spirit or not. There is no middle state. Neither the law of Moses nor the "law of Christians" can produce this new birth. Only the Holy Spirit can do the work of regenerating the human spirit as a result of the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16).

We are not in the Holy Spirit's position to judge the "quality" of someone's faith and salvation. Jesus was very clear on this matter, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24) We can only inspect the fruit to know the outcome of anyone's faith. That's righteous judgment.

In the final analysis, the work of conviction of sin, of righteousness, and of justification is God's work. Our role is to effectively preach the gospel, invite sinners to repent and believe on Jesus Christ. What happens in a person's heart is God's work. When Christians try to "add" to God's work, they invariably end up imposing their version of the "law" in which people are only as "saved" as determined by others.

I recommend you keep God's word, not man's words, as the only authoritative, reliable, and effective means of salvation. The Hebrews writer goes on the say….

"15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin." (Hebrews 10:15-18)


  1. Val
    You're going to know for sure one day if there is really a hell for sinners or not. If you're wrong.. a bit late then. See the story of Abraham and Lazarus as told by Jesus Himself.

  2. Sir this is well stated, may you touch the hearts and minds of many to bring them to Truth!

  3. Hell is real but the truth is that it was not meant for men, but for the devil. it is only when men reject the grace of God, the son of his love Jesus Christ that they will find themselves in hell. the law has no power to save you from going to hell only Jesus has so why don't you accept him today. Jesus is Lord!!!

  4. I've been awake all night wrestling with a sign I saw yesterday that read, "Thank Good my mom wasn't gay." Immediately upon seeing the sign, I thought, "How very hateful! It's no wonder Christians are maligned by everyone else." I was so saddened I was brought to tears, both for the woman holding the sign and for the people reading it. Thank you for your clear and insightful post. It is exactly what I have been thinking all night long.