Rom.2:4 – Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
The Lord is perfect in all of His ways. It’s His very nature, His goodness, that attracts us to this new life in Christ. Before our salvation we were all part of the messy business of pursuing happiness in material things. We all had different versions of what a happy life would look like but after everything was said and done it was all “vanity and striving after wind”. It wasn’t until we saw God’s goodness for ourselves that this began to change. It started for me when I saw His love for me, His excellent goodness, in His dying for me at the cross. When I saw that He took my place because of His love for me I was won over. It was as Paul said, “the goodness of God led me to repentance”. Here is how Jonathan Edwards describes the beauty of repentance.
“Repentance of sin is a sorrow arising from the sight of God’s excellency and mercy, but the apprehension of excellency or mercy must necessarily and unavoidably beget pleasure in the mind of the beholder. ’Tis impossible that anyone should see anything that appears to him excellent and not behold it with pleasure, and it’s impossible to be affected with the mercy and love of God, and his willingness to be merciful to us and love us, and not be affected with pleasure at the thoughts of [it]; but this is the very affection that begets true repentance. How much soever of a paradox it may seem, it is true that repentance is a sweet sorrow, so that the more of this sorrow, the more pleasure.”
So apparently we have been living in an upside down world. Many of us avoided the Christian life at all costs because we thought that turning away from sin, repentance, would lead to a life of misery and boredom. We had no idea that exactly the opposite is true, repentance is the doorway to the pleasures of God. Christ’s love for us displayed at Calvary is lavishly poured out on us as we turn away from sin and embrace Christ. The Holy Spirit is poured out on us again and again until we are overcome with love. We had been running from His goodness all of our lives, now we have fallen into the pleasures of God.