Well, we're all still here, the end is nigh, but not quite so nigh as yesterday, and so we continue to grow spiritually, learn from the Word of God, and practice patience, living with the expectation of Christ's return as an impetus to continue walking in holiness and righteousness. For those of you critical of me for dismissing May 21, 2011 as the day of days, now you know why. God bless you as you seek to serve Him in spirit and in truth, rather than in the words of men. No need to repent to me, or apologize to me for the hateful words you wrote, just do so before God for causing shame to His house once more with these childish declarations.
Recently I received an e-mail from a seminary student that had a bone to pick with me. Lately it seems for one reason or another, a lot of people have bones to pick with me. Somehow he had gotten ahold of some of my writings off the internet, and he was perturbed by the notion that I write about repentance, and the need to repent so often. He tried mounting a defense of his position by saying that the Old Testament doesn’t talk about repentance all that much, and if we are to preach the whole council of God, then we are not to neglect the Old Testament. Personally, I don’t know what that has to do with repentance, but I do know that the Bible, including the Old Testament talks about repentance frequently and insistently.
In the Old Testament the term for repentance, the term that Jeremiah and Elijah, Isaiah and Moses, Ezekiel and David used was ‘turn back to the Lord!’
Repentance defined is to turn back to the Lord, and turn our backs to the world. No, the prophets of old did not use the word ‘repent’ but what they meant when they said we must turn back to the Lord was exactly that.
I started to wonder what they’re teaching the future leaders of Christendom in these seminaries, since a student thereof was attempting to discredit and minimize the need for repentance ardently and passionately. Ben, buddy, more prayer, more study of the Word, less letting fools with titles convince you that repentance is passé, antiquated, for a different time, or unnecessary.
I’ve been delving into the lamentations of Jeremiah recently, and it was just this morning that I read a passage concerning repentance, or turning back to the Lord, and how vitally important it is for everyone who calls themselves a child of God.
Lamentations 3:39-42, “Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned.”
For some reason this passage tugged at my heart, because Jeremiah was lamenting the utter destruction of Jerusalem, a once proud city now reduced to rubble by the invading Babylonian hordes. He sees what has occurred, he is there to witness the extent to which destruction took place, and he concludes that those still living, those still surviving ought not to complain for the punishment of their sins. Yes, sin is that grave, it is that tragic, it is that fatal, and Jeremiah saw the consequences of sin firsthand.
We assume that God will pardon our transgressions; we assume that God will pardon our rebellion; we assume we have no need of repentance because a loving God wouldn’t punish us, and one day we will realize that we were wrong in our assumptions. For many it was a shock and a surprise to see Jerusalem fall under Babylonian rule, because they lived under the impression that no matter what they did, no matter how they lived, no matter how much sin they committed or how much rebellion they displayed, they would remain God’s people, under His protection and under His blessing.
They forgot the fact that God blessed only when their hearts were turned toward Him, they forgot the fact that God forgave only when repentance of past sins was evident, and they took the blessing of God and the protection of God for granted.
‘Well, we took one step outside of His will and nothing happened, we took two steps and nothing happened, we took ten steps, twenty steps, until we could no longer see God, until we were far removed from Him, and then something happened.’
This is the selfsame way so many today flirt with sin, then give themselves over to it.
‘Well, I did this one thing and God didn’t punish me, so I guess I can do something else.’
God is not blind, and God will not be mocked, and when the day comes that we will be punished for our sins because in our hearts we saw no need for repentance, we ought not to complain.
It is the constant whisper of the enemy, the one thing he attempts to keep us from doing at all cost, because the enemy knows that if we repent, God will forgive, if we examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord, He will restore us.
In the midst of chaos, in the midst of destruction, in the midst of seeing his beloved Jerusalem destroyed and his people dying in the streets, Jeremiah comes to an astounding conclusion, that although sin had brought them to this place, although rebellion and transgression were the reasons Jerusalem fell, it was through the Lord’s mercy that they were not consumed altogether.
Even in the worst of circumstances, the mercy of God is there, and the righteous and the saved see it, and behold God’s faithfulness.
Lamentations 22-25, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.”
Yes, the Lord is good to those who wait for Him, He is merciful and kind and loving and exceedingly faithful to the soul who seeks Him, but His justice demands that He judge the unrepentant soul, those who refuse to examine themselves and turn back to Him, because by their transgressions and rebellion they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
May we this day examine ourselves, and may we this day turn back to the Lord, may we this day repent, that in the days to come we may say as Jeremiah did ‘great is your faithfulness!’
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.