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? 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?
Have you ever gone out to lunch with someone and the waitress comes and asks that awkward question…
“Will that be one check or two?”
Your best bet, of course, is to quickly answer “two” and let the other person correct you if they are going to buy you lunch. The worst thing to do is to presume that it’s one check and that the other person is paying for it.
Paul is flashing back to Jesus’ parable about the crazy boss right here. He describes God’s grace as riches of kindness and forbearance and patience. We don’t want to be presumptuous that God will always pay our bill but not pay someone else’s.
Of course, we’re going to learn later in Romans that God already paid the sin-bill for those that call on His name. What we don’t want to do is assume that God isn’t going to pay someone else’s sin-bill. That is presuming that we know what God will and won’t forgive.
God’s kindness is what led us to repent and follow Him. We can teach people facts, but they only learn the reality of those facts when they put them together with the power of the Holy Spirit into their own knowledge. That kindness, forbearance, and patience are what we needed to finally ‘get it.’
We never have to stop being patient or kind to someone that hasn’t repented and turned to the Lord. Every one of us was messed up the day before we got saved.
Kindness and patience are God’s number one persuasion tool. The more we learn to wield these tools the way God does, the more we’ll get to witness the world turning His way.