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

         “Or despises thou”
         Literally: Do you despise.”  This word properly means to condemn, or to treat with neglect.  

         OR:  (Grk.–hē)–Greek participle meaning, “either, or.”

         DESPISE:  (Grk.–kataphroneō)–From phroneō, meaning, “to think, to have understanding, be wise, to feel,  to direct one’s mind to a things;” and kata,  meaning,  “down.”  Thus:  “to think a thing down.” In our parlance we might say,  ”to look down one's nose at a thing.”  Paul is here uniting a question with a declaration–“Do you  despise?  Yes, you do.”

Do you go further still, and not only expect to escape God's wrath for sin, but do you even abuse His love?  It does not mean here that they professedly treated God's goodness with neglect or contempt; but that they perverted and abused it.
1.      They did not make a proper use of it.
2.      They did not regard it as fitted to lead them to repentance; but,
2.      They derived a practical impression that because God had not come forth in judgment and cut them off, but had continued to follow them with blessings, that therefore He did not regard them as sinners, or they inferred that they were innocent and safe.

This argument the Jews were accustomed to use, (comp. Luke 13:1-5; John 9:2;) and thus sinners still continue to abuse the goodness and mercy of God.      

“the riches of His goodness”–Do you scorn God’s kindness?  Wilt you render of none effect that marked benevolence of God towards you which has given so many superior advantages, and that forbearance which has tolerated your own many miscarriages, and that long-suffering which, after repeated provocations, still continues to bear with you?

           RICHES:   (Grk.–ploutou)–The overflowing abundance.  This is a Hebrew mode of speaking, for “His rich goodness;” that is, for His abundant or great goodness.

Riches denote that which abounds, or which exceeds a man's present wants; and hence the word is used in the N.T. to denote abundance; or that which is very great and valuable. The word is used here to qualify each of the words which follow it:  His rich goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering.

          GOODNESS: (Grk.–chrēstatētos)–“Kindness; benevolence.” Seeing that you  have sinned, do sin, and will sin. All these are afterwards comprised in the single word goodness. The goodness of God ought to bring us to our knees before Him; but instead, it drives men from Him. 

“There are two words for “good” in the Greek languageThere is agathos and there is chrēstos. The goodness of someone who is agathos may result in rebuke, disciple and punishment; but the goodness of someone who is chrēstos is always essentially kind.  Jesus was agathos when He drove the money-changers and the sellers of doves from the Temple in the white heat of His anger.  He was chrēstos when He treated with loving gentleness the sinning woman who anointed His feet and the woman taken in adultery.  So Paul says, in effect, ‘You Jews are simply trying to take advantage of the great kindness of God’”–William BarclayThe Letter to the Romans.

         “forebearance and long suffering”
         Literally:  “the forebearance and the long suffering”

          FOREBEARANCE:   (Grk.–anochēs)–Literally, His holding in or restraining His indignation; or forbearing to manifest His displeasure against sin; His holding back.  In Classical Greek, this is a military term which denotes a truce of arms; a holding back.  The word   implies something temporary which may pass away under new conditions.

           LONGSUFFERING:  (Grk.–makrothumias)–Shown in God’s long bearing with the sinner.  This word denotes God’s slowness to anger; or His allowing them to commit sins a long time without punishing them.  This reliance on God’s tolerance to suspend the rule of His administration in your case is contempt (despisest).

         Longsuffering does not differ that much from forbearance.  This is shown by God not coming forth, at the moment that sin is committed, to punish it. He might do it justly, but He spares men from day to day, and year to year, to give them opportunity to repent, and be saved.
          The way in which men despise or abuse the goodness of God is to infer that He does not intend to punish sin; that they may do it safely; and instead of turning from it, to go on in committing it more constantly, as if they were safe. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil,”  (Eccles 8:11).

The same thing was true in the time of Peter–

        “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts. 
        “And saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?  For since the fathers fall asleep,   all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation”
(II Pet.3:3,4).

        And the same thing is true of wicked men in every age. There is no more decisive proof of the wickedness of the human heart than this disposition to abuse the goodness of God; and because He shows kindness and forbearance, to plunge deeper into sin, to forget His mercy, and to provoke Him to anger.
        Notice the degrees, or stages, of God’s kindness during the earth-life of a man:
First:  It is God’s “goodness” in daily preserving him, providing for him, and protecting him.
Second:  God’s goodness being despised by man, God’s “forbearance” is exercised.  God does not instantly smite the proud ingrate, but goes on in goodness toward him, withholding wrath even at times when disease, danger or death threaten all about him.
Third:  All God’s goodness and forbearance being despised, God’s “long suffering” keeps waiting, even over “vessels of wrath” (9:22).

         “not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.”

         NOT KNOWING: (Grk.–agnoōn)-Literally: “to be ignorant of,” but it denotes such a degree of inattention as to result in ignorance (comp. Hosea 2:8). In this sense it denotes a voluntary, and therefore a criminal ignorance.

Not acknowledging this goodness of God, which has so long displayed itself in forbearance and long-suffering Not considering; this very ignorance is contempt.

“leadeth thee”
Literally:  “is leading you.”  Present tense verb; “is leading” all the while you are despising. 

The tendency, the purpose of the goodness of God is to induce men to repent of their sins, and not to lead them to deeper and more aggravated iniquity. The same sentiment is expressed in II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  See also Isa. 30:18, “And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you.” (Hosea 5:15; Ezek. 18:23,32).

“to repentance”–The very kindness (the kindly quality) of God is trying to lead you to an about face, a change of mind and attitude instead of a complacent self-satisfaction and pride of race and privilege; that is, is designed and adapted to do so.

“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”

“After thy hardness”
Literally:  “According to your hardness.”–Brought on by your long course of iniquity. An impenitent heart, produced by your hardness, through which you are callous to the calls of your conscience.

          AFTER:  (Grk.–kata)–Literally: “in respect to;” or, “according to.”  Brought on by your long course of iniquity. The direct tendency of a hard heart in treasuring up wrath to  itself.

          HARDNESS:  (Grk.–skoleroteta)–Used to denote insensibility of mind.  It means  “that which is insensible to the touch,” or “on which no impression is made by contact,” as a stone, etc. 

Here it is applied to the mind, to denote a state where no motives can make an impression; a mind that is insensible to all the appeals made to it (see Matt. 25:24; 19:8; Acts 19:9). And here it expresses a state of mind where the goodness and forbearance of God have no effect. The man still remains obstinate or inflexible. It is implied in this expression, that the direct tendency, or the inevitable result of that state of mind, was to treasure up wrath, etc.

“impenitent heart”–A heart which is not affected with sorrow for sin, in view of the mercy and goodness of God. This is an explanation of what Paul meant by hardness.  Produced by    your hardness, through which you are callous to the calls of your own conscience.

                 IMPENITENT:  (Grk.–ametanoētos)–Literally:  “obstinate; unrepentant.

“treasurest up”
Literally:  “Do treasure up for yourself”–Accumulates; that is, continues to increase your debt to the justice of God; a justice that will infallibly inflict wrath and punishment in the  Day of Wrath; the Judgment Day, in which God will render to every man according to his works.

                 TREASURE (Grk.–(thêsaurizō)–To store up, save, put aside.”  This is also the root word for our word, “thesaurus.”

         The Hebrews use the word treasure to express any kind of store or collection; that is:  Treasure of Rain:   “to give the rain unto thy land” (Deut 28:12);  Treasure of Punishment:  “Is not this sealed up among My treasures; Is not this sealed up among my treasures?  To Me belongeth vengeance and recompense(Deut. 32:34,35);   Treasures of Mines: (i.e. abundance of minerals.) “They shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand” (Deut 33:19).  God needs no “jury” to decide the case.  He Himself is Witness, Jury and Judge. 
         The cumulative character of continued impenitence is seen here.  This shows how the hardened and impenitent sinner “lays up’ during a prosperous earth-life constant “treasures” of wrath, which will be revealed at the Great White Throne of Judgment (Rev. 20), when all the evil works of the lost will be shown in all their ramifications and evil influences, and effects upon others, as well as in the fearful personal guilt of hardness and impenitence against God’s mercy.   Not until the last evil result be shown, as all will be shown in that day.

“unto thyself”
Literally:  in thyself.”  To yourself; not to him whom you judge but to yourself, and not      for       another;          to be executed on you alone, and not on your fellowman. This is the case       with     every sinner, as really and as certainly as though he were the only solitary mortal in      existence.

           WRATH:  (Grk.–orgê)–Wrath, like wealth treasured up, is not exhausted at present, and so the sinner becomes bolder in his sinning. But this wrath exists for future use; it is kept in store (comp. II Pet. 3:7)–“But the heavens and the earth, which are   now, by the same Word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the Day of Judgment and   perdition of ungodly men;” against future times.

The man who commits sin is only increasing the wrath by his every act of transgression.  It may be pointed out here that most men have an immense treasure of this kind in store, which eternal ages of pain will not exhaust or diminish!  Stores of wrath are reserved for a guilty world, and in due time it “will come upon man to the uttermost,” (I Thess. 2:16.).  See notes on 1:18.

“against the day of wrath”
Literally:  “In a day of wrath.”–The day when God shall show or execute His wrath  against sinners (comp. Rev. 6:17; I Thess. 1:10; John 3:36; Eph. 5:6). The day, surely to come, when God's judgments will be inflicted.

        “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:  and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (already)–John 3:36.
        “Let no man deceive you with vain words:  for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience”– (Eph. 5:6)

            “For the great Day of the Wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand”  (Rev. 5:17)?

What an awful idea is expressed here; that the sinner himself is amassing, like hoarded treasure, an ever accumulating stock of divine wrath, that will burst upon him in “the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God!”  

“and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”
Literally:  And revelation of a righteous judgment of God.”–This will only be fully revealed at the Day of Judgment; or the day when the righteous judgment of God will be revealed, or made known. That is the day that is meant here.

1.      That the punishment of the wicked will be just. It will not be a judgment of impulsive whim or tyranny, but a righteous judgment; that is, such a judgment as it will be right to render, or as ought to be rendered, and THEREFORE such as God will render, for He will do right, (II Thess. 1:6).
2.      The punishment of the wicked is future. It is not exhausted in this life. It is treasured up for a future day, and that day is a day of wrath. How contrary to this text are the pretenses of those who maintain that all punishment is executed in this life.
3.      How foolish, as well as wicked, it is to lay up such a treasure for the future; to have the only inheritance in the eternal world to be an inheritance of wrath and woe!

It is most important to understand this point:  God not only sees the facts for His judgments, but also He sees the motives behind the facts.  Therefore, whether you are brought to flee to Christ, or from Him, you must fact this great fact:  God is a God of judgment, and a God of truth.  He will judge, and His judgments will be, “according to truth.” that is, the punishment shall be proportioned to the you have abused.



“Who will render to every man according to his deeds”

“Who will render”        
Literally:  “Who will give.”–Who, in the
Day of Judgment, will reward and punish every man according as his life and conversation have been. 

That is, who will make retribution as a righteous Judge; or who will give to every man as he deserves. Sinners escape punishment for a time, and so they think they will escape it altogether, but God will render it at the final Day of Judgment. The rendering will be in accord with the facts.  In the Day of Judgment God will reward and punish every man according as his life and conversation have been.

        RENDER:  (Grk.–apodidōmi)–Meaning, “to pay off, discharge; to recompense, to    pay off what is due.”  This in the sense of reimbursing a person for doing something.

“to every man”
Literally:  “To each.”  To each one; whether he bea  sinner or a saint, Jew or Gentile. This is a general principle, and it is clear that in this respect God would deal with the Jew as He does with the Gentile. This general principle Paul is establishing, that he may bring it to      bear on the Jew and to show that he cannot escape simply because he is a Jew. 

“according to his deeds”
Literally:  “according to his works.”–That is, as he deserves.  God will be just, and will treat every man as he ought to be treated, or according to his character.

           DEEDS:  (Grk.–ergona)—Literally:  “works.”  The word is sometimes applied to the external conduct. But it is plain that this is not its meaning here. It denotes everything connected with conduct, including the acts of the mind,–the motives, the principles, as well as the actual external act. Our word character comes closer to expressing this than any single word.

It is not true that God will treat men according to their external conduct; but the whole language of the Bible implies that He will judge men according to the whole of their conduct, including their thoughts, principles and motives; that is, as they deserve. The doctrine of this is abundantly taught all through the Bible. 

      “If thou sayest, ‘Behold, we know it not:’ doeth not He that considereth the heart consider {it}?  And He that keepeth my soul doeth {not} He know it?  And shall {not} He render to {every} man according to his works” (Prov. 24:12).
      “Great in counsel, and might in work; for Thine eyes are open upon all the works of the sons of men; to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer. 32:19).

      “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with angels, and then He shall reward every man according to his works” (Matt. 16:27).
      “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened;  and another book was opened, which is {the book} of life:  and the dead were judge out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Rev. 20:12).

Take special notice that Paul, and the preceding Bible verses, do not say that men will be rewarded for their deeds, but rather will be judged according to their deeds. 

        Christians will be saved on account of the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, (Titus 3:5) but still the rewards of heaven will be according to their works; that is, they who have labored most, and been most faithful, shall receive the highest reward, or their fidelity in their Master's service shall be the measure or rule according to which the rewards of heaven shall be distributed (Matt. 25:14-29). Thus the ground or reason why they are saved shall be the merits of the Lord Jesus. The measure of their happiness shall be according to their character and deeds. On what principle God will distribute his rewards the apostle proceeds immediately to state.
        Absolute justice is the criterion of this judgement.  Man’s deeds stand before God in His holy light.  No man in his right mind wants to be judged on this basis.  Remember Cornelius—he was a good man, but he was lost and on his way to hell.  “Also unto Thee, O Lord, {belongeth} mercy:  for Thou renderest to every man according to his work” (Psalm 62:12).