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Romans 2.4

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Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Paul is talking still about religious people: about people who come to God on the basis of what they have done, not on the basis of what He has done. Religion ruins lives.

As we have seen in verses 1-3, religion leads you to judge people for things that you do yourself. It leads you to criticise people for doing things wrong that you do yourself. It leads you to having a double standard for judging people – if person X commits sin Y then you condemn them and judge them. When you commit the same sin, you justify yourself because of your motivation or your other good works. In short, religion makes you judgmental, critical, acerbic and rude. No-one likes a religious person.

Jesus on the other hand is gracious, kind, redemptive, helpful, gentle and easy to live with. If people truly know Jesus they are great people to be around. They are easy to live with, they are kind, patient and gentle.

Religion is awful.

Now, this verse contains some wonderful instruction. It explains why religious people are so condemning, judgmental and hypocritical.

The reason is this: they hate the riches of God’s goodness, forbearance and longsuffering. Never, ever hate God’s goodness, forbearance and longsuffering.

Let’s look at these three elements of God individually:

1. God’s goodness

The Greek word for goodness is chrēstotēs. It can be translated as goodness or benignity or kindness. It means that God is never mean, never malicious, never hurtful. It means that God does not have plans to harm us, does not want revenge on us when we sin, is not holding back anything from us.

It means God is good and good means good. God loves us and God is for us. You can cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you. He adores you. He only wants to do good for you, He only speaks good words about you, He only acts for your good. He truly is awesome!

Religious people do not realize that God is rich in goodness. They think that if you do something wrong, God will immediately withhold His blessing and get revenge. Some religious people will tell you that God is behind all the evil in the world. Others will tell you that you are not healed or not wealthy because of your sin or your lack of goodness or lack of service.

All these ideas have their root in despising the goodness of God and not having a clue of who God really is!

2. God’s forbearance

The Greek word for forbearance is anochē. It means the ability to put up with things. God is rich in forbearance. God is tolerant.

If you have messed up today, God is not looking to get you and beat you up for it. God is rich in the ability to put up with things. Look how much you did wrong before you were born again! God put up with all of that, and still when you repented and believed accepted you fully and made you fully righteous.

Now you are in God’s family: He puts up with anything you do.

Religious people are not tolerant. They will not put up with anything. If you sin you are out the door. Heaven forbid if you do something wrong that people find out about. If you break the religious community rules you will be shunned. That is what religious people are like: they will turn on you as quickly as you can imagine. They are not tolerant because they do not know the tolerance of God. God is gracious! God can put up with things.

The more you realize the goodness and graciousness of God, the easier it is to develop a real genuine relationship with Him.

3. God’s longsuffering

God’s forbearance is God’s ability to put up with anything you do wrong and not shun you or kick you out of the community. It is a form of mercy: God’s mercy is God’s ability not to treat you as your sins deserve.

God’s longsuffering is God’s ability to love you and care about you and passionately desire to be with you no matter what you have done. It is a form of God’s grace. God’s mercy is not giving you what you deserve, God’s grace is giving you what you do not deserve.

God’s longsuffering is God’s ability to love you and bless you even when you do not deserve it. It comes from the Greek word makrothymia, which is translated patience or longsuffering in the KJV. It comes from two words: makro, meaning long; and thymos which means passion or heat.

Listen: even on your worst day, God still feels passion for you. He is the God of macro-passion. He dotes on you, cares for you, loves you passionately.

Religious people cannot deal with this. They cannot sustain their passion for God or for people. They cloak their lack of passion for God and for people with religious cliches. They hate people who turn up and who pray with passion, preach with passion, love with passion, serve with passion. Religious people portray an austere God, not a God hot with passion.

There is even a doctrine many churches in the UK teach called impassibility. This means that God cannot experience pain or pleasure from our actions. It is heresy – the Bible is clear: he CAN be touched with the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4.15). Not only that: it leads to people not being able to understand God, so it stops people having a real relationship with Him.

Muslims also teach that God has no emotions, no passion, no heat. It is simply not true: God can be made happy by your actions. God can be grieved by your actions.

Listen: God adores you. He is passionate about you. When you fail and you feel pain, He feels it more. His love for you is boundless, it is passionate, it is red-hot. He adores you.

Conclusion

When you realize that God is good, longsuffering and tolerant you start to enjoy His company. It is when you accept the lie that God is some short-fused difficult to please monster that you run far far away from Him.

People often get worried and concerned when you teach that God is good, that God forgives, that God does not hold sin against you. They start to panic: if you do that they say, people will do whatever they want. They will live in sin and rebel.

That is absolutely not true. It is the truth that sets people free. When the truth that God is good and kind is preached, it leads people to repentance. The Greek word for repentance means to change your thinking.

It is ONLY when you realize that God is good, can you actually change your life and live a pure, holy, loving, kind life. Religious people do not live a pure life, they are critical hypocrites. They are cruel, mean and condemning. If you sin they will judge you and fail to love you. They are not godly. They have a form of godliness, but no power. People who think that God is out to get them may look holy, they ARE NOT.

When you realize that God is good and that He adores you, that does not make you want to go and do what you want. It makes you want to tell God how much you love Him, to go and show that love and goodness to some stranger, to go and serve your family, to honour His life and goodness and to go and preach the gospel to the world.

I adjure you: NEVER NEVER NEVER despise the riches of God’s goodness, God’s forbearance and God’s longsuffering. Rather enjoy those riches and share them with the world!

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

A Response to a video about terminal cancer.

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I was on a Christian forum today when someone posted a link to a video of the testimony to a girl dying of cancer.  The girl thinks that it is God’s will she dies of cancer, and that the cancer will bring about much good.

The poster posting the link I assume agrees with this line of thinking.  I watched most of the video and decided to give a Biblical response to it.  I wanted to share what I said as I have covered most of the main objections to the truth that God will heal anyone at anytime if they would just receive it.  I do not recommend that anyone watches the video as it is not founded on the Word of God and will not build your faith.  However I have left the link for completeness’ sake.

May the Lord open this young lady’s eyes to the truth that she is already healed due to the redemptive work of Christ.  Amen!
Blessings,

Benjamin


This fellow sister in Christ has terminal cancer. Watch the video and think about (and possibly even respond) to the questions:

Death is Not Dying Event Video

(1) Does she lack faith?

Well it was obvious to anyone watching the video that she does not believe at all that Jesus Christ bore her sicknesses and carried her diseases, that He heals all our diseases, that you can have anything you ask in prayer, that by His stripes she was healed, that God’s Word is health to all her flesh, that she is completely redeemed from the curse of the law.

So if your question about faith is about the faith that Jesus asked the blind men if they had when He said “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”, the faith that when Jesus healed the blind men said “According to your faith be it done unto you” (Matthew 9), then the answer is no.

She said so clearly in the video that she does NOT believe that God would heal her, and that to believe that God would heal her would be sin to her.  So to then say she clearly has faith for healing would be to contradict her testimony.  She has traditions that make the Word of God to no effect which is why she is not healed.

(2) Has she done something wrong that brought this cancer on her?

No.  Well I guess not, I don’t know about her diet or whether she was a chain smoker or drug user.  I don’t know if the thing that she greatly feared came upon her because I don’t know the thoughts and intents of her heart.  I am giving her the benefit of the doubt – most people get sick because we live in a sin-cursed world.

Unless of course you count the fact that she failed to fellowship with a group of people who would have taught her that Jesus Christ is the LORD our Healer, and that we can receive the healing that He purchased for us with His stripes freely by faith in His Word something wrong.  I would call it ignorant, I wouldn’t call it something wrong in a moral sense.

(3) Is God using her terminal cancer to teach her and others

Absolutely not.  God uses His Word to teach people.  He uses the five fold ministry to teach people.  God does NOT use sickness to teach people.

There is no recording of Jesus teaching people with sickness in the Bible.  As we have talked about Matthew 9, let’s keep talking about it.  Jesus asked the men if they had faith, they said yes, and He said they were healed because of their faith.

Now Jesus didn’t ask if they were born again, if they spoke in tongues, if they were nice people.  He didn’t even ask if they have faith in Him as Messiah, if they believed in the Trinity, if they believed in substitionary penal atonement.  No – He asked: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”  The girl in this video has faith that Jesus is Lord, faith that the Trinity is correct, faith in a lot of things.

Does she believe that Jesus can heal her completely and totally because of His love and mercy?  Not at all.  Jesus is saying the same thing to her that He said to the blind men: “According to your faith, be it done unto you.”  Her faith that God will comfort her in her last days means that she will be comforted.  If at any point she changes her faith to believe that He heals all our diseases, then she can walk in divine health.

Jesus did not put the cancer on her.  God is NOT the source of cancer and cancer is not educative.  People do not learn from cancer.  It is not an instructor it is a destroyer. Jesus never said to the blind men: hey, God wants you blind, and come here let me put some cancer on you as well there is still stuff you need to know.  If you believe cancer is an instructor, go and strap some plutoninium to your chest, go and start smoking 60 a day, stop eating green leaf vegetables.  If you believe blindness is didactic, go and gouge your eyes out with a spoon.

Or get with the programme, and believe and receive your healing!

Goodness – don’t you know God is LOVE.  Love does not give someone cancer to teach them a lesson.  It patiently instructs people.  God is our Father, not some maniacal despot who wants everything His own way or He wipes people out to get His own way.  God is a loving Father. If His son asks for bread, He will never give them a stone.  If we ask for healing, He will never give us cancer.

(4) Have people been strengthened in their faith because of this illness?

No.  Jim suggests that people who are not strengthened in faith don’t have ears to hear.  I would like to mention the Scripture at this point: faith comes by hearing and hearing the testimony of someone dying of cancer.

Or maybe it doesn’t say that.  Maybe it says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the WORD OF GOD. My faith is strengthened as I hear the Word of God, not by testimonies.  Your faith isn’t even strengthened by hearing testimonies of people healed of cancer – you cannot get healing faith from a testimony but from the Word of God.

Her testimony might give people goose bumps, it might make them decide to struggle on, it might make them decide to be a bit more grateful for their health but it will never, ever, ever produce faith.  Anyone who thinks this strengthens faith simply does not know what faith is.

(5) Does her suffering bring good?

No.  It is not the kind of suffering mentioned in the Bible that brings good.  Suffering in the New Covenant is about being persecuted for bringing and teaching the Word of the living God.  Being stoned, being beat with sticks, being mercilesses persecuted wherever you go preaching the Word.

Sickness does not bring about good.  The Word of God is clear on this: Jesus went about doing good healing the sick (Acts 10.38).  Healing is good, sickness is bad.  Look at Deuteronomy 28, sickness is a curse, healing is a blessing.

Sickness steals, kills and destroys.   It does not bring life in abundance (see John 10.10).  That and that alone should tell any serious student of the Word the source of sickness.  Sickness is satanic, sickness is a curse, sickness is captivity – when God healed Job, the Bible says God turned his captivity.  Sickness is a bondage.  Sickness is bad.  Healing is good.

Jesus Christ took every sickness on the cross so that by His stripes we were healed (Matthew 8.16-17, 1 Peter 2.24).

(6) Is God being glorified through her illness?

No, not in the slightest.  God is in His fullness of glory in heaven.  We are taught to pray “Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  There is no sickness in heaven, therefore it is obvious the will of God is healing.  If sickness brings God glory why is there no sickness in heaven?  Why was Adam not created with cancer: seen as you think cancer is so intructive, maybe a bit of cancer would have helped Adam make the right choice in the garden.

Maybe God should have ripped Adam’s arms off and stopped him eating the forbidden fruit.  I mean if God is going to give someone cancer to teach them a lesson, why not?  One of the reasons Eve sinned according to 1 John is that she SAW the fruit was good to eat.  Why didn’t God create her blind?  Would that not have brought Him glory?

Of course not.  God teaches through His Word.  When Adam and Eve lost paradise and perfect health due to their sin and rebellion, Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for the healing of every human on the planet.  He died our death, He bore our sins and He bore our diseases.  So that we could be alive, righteous and healthy.

If sickness brings God’s glory, are there angels with broken wings and angels full of cancer?

You know the answer is no.  You know that man was created healthy.  You know that in heaven there is no more sickness and you know that God’s will should be done on earth as it is in heaven.  God is glorified in healing the sick and changing lives, not letting a satanic thief cut down and destroy someone’s life prematurely.

(7) Will she be physically healed?

The choice is hers.  God said that He sets before us life and death.  Jesus said “According to your faith, it will be done to you.”

If she stops believing the traditional lies that have kept the church powerless for years and believes the simple truth that By His Stripes She Was Healed, then I can guarantee she will shake that cancer off and live a long and productive and fruitful life, with a testimony that will glorify God and a ministry that will bring faith as she teaches people the Word of God and how she found out that it brings healing and health to all her flesh.

If she continues to believe that God is not there to heal her and that God cannot be relied upon, then I do not foresee her healing manifesting.

Blessings,
Benjamin

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