(Image courtesy of http://www.sparkpe.org.)
"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?  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day when God's righteous judgement will be revealed" (Romans 2:4-5).
The apostle Paul finished his condemnation of the Gentiles at the end of chapter one; that is, those who openly practiced sin and rebellion toward God, having considered Him, only to exchange His truth for images and worldly philosophies.  Chapter two, though, was written in a different tone, as if Paul turned his head from the Gentiles to the Jews, the people who had grown up in Jewish homes and obeyed all the external Jewish customs and said all the Jewish things.  Paul rightly decreed their condemnation as well.  They who condemned others for their sin, should they think themselves worthy of Heaven?  Certainly not!  There is no one who deserves Heaven because there is no one who has not sinned.

The fact is, all deserve death and judgement.  That is the destiny of Adam's tragic race.

What about you?  Are you aware today of the weight of your sin and the serious condition of your soul?  In a world so full of positivity and encouragement, our view of ourselves can become distorted.  We think we're a lot better than we actually are.

It's easy to see the wickedness outside of ourselves, in this world.  The television is full of riots, fires, and brutality, and we shake our fists at it and make great boasts about the arrogance and wickedness of others.  Yet, we somehow fail to see our own selves in the same way.

It's easy to see the wickedness in this world, but we often fail to see the evil in our own lives.

There is no one worthy of Heaven.  There is no one worthy of the love of God.  No one.

That's right, not even you.

Oh reader, do you mock the kindness of God?  When you receive correction from a parent, a teacher, or a pastor, do you laugh in arrogance?  When you receive teaching meant to lead you to repentance, do you ridicule the speaker as a bigot and an intolerant?  When you hear, read, or watch people stating the truth of the Bible - that you are indeed a sinner in need of Christ - do you scoff at it and think the message is for someone else?

Do you laugh, scoff, and ridicule the mercy of God, doubting His holy judgement?  Do you hold God in an indifferent and neutral way?  Do you ignore His truth?

Are you as the people of Israel were, mocking, disrespecting, and abusing your teachers and pastors?  Do you shut your ears to them and open your mouths to condemn them?  Do you think that by eliminating their voice, you will eliminate the judgement of God?

Oh, lost generation!  How long will you mock the kindness and mercy of God?  It is because you do not understand your sin.

Your sin - not mine, not theirs - has separated you from the love and goodness of God.  Your treason against the Sovereign Lord will be dealt with by fire and damnation.  You cannot escape it.  He who created the world and you and your soul - He will not allow any to escape His justice and righteousness.  You will face the King of kings at the day of Judgement.  What, then, on that day, will you say for yourself?

"You played the flute for me, but I did not dance.  You sang a dirge for me, but I did not mourn" (Matthew 11:17).  You will then, when it is too late, remember the times the message of the Gospel was told to you, and you will remember how you did not respond with humility and repentance, but with arrogance and mockery.  You will remember your sin on that day, and how you needed a Savior - but it will be too late.

Will you repent, then, in view of the mercy and kindness God has shown to you in Christ - how He died in your place and gave you righteousness (perfection) that was not yours?  Be not hard-hearted, but listen to reproof, for a wise man responds to reproof with meekness.  Turn to Christ for your salvation, not to your own devices.

I pray that many youth find the truth of the Gospel of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit.  I pray that their teachers and leaders do not waver in their relentless pursuit of God's elect.  I pray that parents would entreat their children with the Gospel, seeking their salvation.  I pray that they would train them in righteousness, not in false hopes and encouragement alone.

Entering into my sixth year of teaching school, I have encountered hundreds (if not thousands) of youth over the years.  I see how a number of youth treat the love and kindness of God with contempt.  I have heard their mockery and scoffing of the truth of God, and I am saddened and angered by their response.  I am saddened by their rejection of Christ, and I am angered by their leaders (primarily many of their very own parents and pastors) who will not speak of their sin and depravity for fear of damaging their self-esteem.

In a world so inundated with false truth, it is no secret why many youth reject Christ and pursue worldly pleasures.  They have examined God and exchanged His glory for the glory of mortal man (Romans 1:21).  This generation needs the Gospel.  They need to know and feel the weight of their sin.  Not everything needs to be so "positive and encouraging"; sometimes we need to feel the depravity of our nature.  Whether old or young, may God help us reach those outside of Christ with His love.

If being positive and encouraging is what Christianity has been reduced to, I don't want it.  I want the negativity and discouragement brought on by a confrontation with my sin.  I want to feel my helplessness.  Then, when I am low, I want to look for my Savior.  It is in that place I will find Him.  Then, I will know His full, positive affirmation and His eternal encouragement because of Christ!