The blessing of turning from sin
Is God asking you to repent in any way in your life?
Our response to that last question reveals to us the condition of our hearts with God.
Do you know why God wants you to repent?
Israel had forgotten why in Jeremiah’s day.
So Jeremiah had to remind them in Jeremiah 4:1–2:
“If you return, O Israel, if you remove your detestable things and swear to righteousness, then the nations shall bless themselves in God and in God shall they glory.”
God is saying, “Israel, if you will repent, then you and others will be blessed, and God will receive the glory!”
See, when you don’t repent, you are not the only one who suffers, so does everyone else who was going to be blessed through your repentance. Unrepentance is one of the most self-centered things you can do, because when you refuse to repent, God withholds blessings not just for you, but also from those he was going to bless through your obedience. Think about this. Who is missing out on a blessing from God because you refuse to repent and return to the works the Lord has created you to do for him for his glory in others’ lives?
Sometimes our greatest enemy is ourselves and our own fleshly desires. God told Israel in Jeremiah 4:14, “Wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved.”
God wants to save us from ourselves. He wants us to repent. He wanted Israel to repent, but if they didn’t, he tells them in Jeremiah 4:28, “For I have spoken; I have purposed; I have not relented, nor will I turn back.” If we don’t repent, God will judge us. He loves us that much. He will use whatever means necessary to redeem us and let us know that he is jealous for us. Like Israel, we sometimes chase after vain things. God told Israel in Jeremiah 4:30, “In vain you beautify yourself. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life.”
If we don’t repent and let God save us, the very thing we found pleasure in, God will use to judge us, and this is always more painful than repenting.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
God told Israel in Jeremiah 5:1, “If you can find a person, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her.”
One righteous repented person in the midst of a sinful nation is all God needs to spare that entire nation.
That is how important your repentance is not only to your life but to the nation you live in. God wants to spare our nation through our individual repentance. That’s powerful! Did you realize your personal repentance has that much power?
Sadly, sometimes we don’t.
As followers of Jesus, we don’t realize how powerful our repentance is, and we turn and run from repentance instead of running to it. God told Israel in Jeremiah 5:3, “You refuse to take correction. You refuse to repent.”
When we set our face against God and determine our will to be contrary to what he is asking of us, it becomes very costly. God tells Israel in Jeremiah 5:15, that because of their unrepentance, “I am bringing against you a nation from afar.”
When we don’t listen to God, he will use a much more sinful world around us to get our attention. This is what he is doing for Israel here. God wants us to repent so he doesn’t have to use the sinful world around us to judge us.
But even in these harsh moments and extreme measures of judgment against our unrepentance, God is still gracious to us even in his judgments. He tells Israel in Jeremiah 5:18, “But even in those days, declares the Lord, I will not make a full end of you.” God doesn’t want to withhold his good from us.
Do you realize your lack of repentance limits the goodness of God in your life? Why would any of us want to do that?
Not only does our lack of repentance hinder God’s goodness being given to us, but it causes us to start to live in way in which we don’t consider the final outcome of our lives. I often times like to say, “What we do for God matters and, in the end, it is all that matters.” When we refuse to repent, we stop thinking about the end. Israel had stopped thinking about the end of their lives. God had to remind Israel of the end in Jeremiah 5:31, “But what will you do when the end comes?”
Have you and I forgotten that the end awaits us and when we reach the end, we will face God and give an account of the life we lived here?
Some of the best medicine in life for getting us back on the right road is to take into consideration the end. Once we have done this, then we look back and rediscover the ancient path that God wants us to walk.
God told Israel in Jeremiah 6:16, “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it and find rest for your souls.” They responded, “We will not walk in it.”
The longer you and I ignore the voice of God, the easier it gets to ignore it and the more severe the judgment that awaits our hearts becomes.
God wants us to repent to him because he knows our unrepentance makes us resistant to his voice and that leads to further demise and destruction for us.
Repentance protects us from self-destruction.
I encourage you to say to God, God, how do you want me to repent to you so I can live in the blessings you have for me?
Repent. You will never regret it.