too fanciful

You’ll tell me if this is too imaginative, or too simplistic, I trust: There’s a place in Paul’s epistle to the Romans where he expresses surprise that they don’t realise that the goodness of God is meant to lead them to repentance.

Which is interesting, because superficially you might think that difficult providences would be more likely to put people in mind of their sin and push them towards repentance – but it doesn’t seem to work like that.

So is it too fanciful to think that if favourable providences are meant to lead us to repentance, difficult providences are meant to provoke faith into action?

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One thought on “too fanciful

  1. Fanciful is maybe the wrong word: it must be too simplistic though. Most obviously, because the goodness of God is the same regardless of whether you find your circumstances pleasant or not.

    Also pondering: the accusation in Amos (and others) that regardless of how severely the people were dealt with in providence, they were incorrigible. Whatever disaster was sent their way, ‘yet ye have not returned unto me.’ This is the typical behaviour of the unconverted, but does it also describe believers in a low spiritual condition? In which case, shouldn’t believers and unbelievers alike treat difficult circumstances as one more version of the call to repentance?

    But repentance is supposed to be a ‘kindly’ thing. Harsh treatment breeds truculence and resentment, not what Colquhoun called ‘evangelical repentance’. It’s not as if being afraid of being punished is equivalent to repenting. There needs to be some apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ. Possibly that is easier to apprehend in situations where you clearly don’t deserve the providential blessings that are manifestly bestowed. Maybe.

    What’s a blog for, if not for monologue?

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