In A Word – ‘Repent’

March 19, 2009

God’s Call to Repentance

Zechariah begins his series of visions and oracles with the fact of a nation steeped in sin and God’s call is for them Return unto Me, says Yahweh of hosts, that I may return unto you, says Yahweh of hosts.   The prophets spoke from the mouth of the Omniscient God, foretelling things to come; but to the current generations in which they lived they were chiefly preachers of righteousness, and their constant cry was, “Repent,” which in Hebrew is the command, “turn!”

Ezekiel 33:11:   “Turn ye, turn ye”; for why will you wander from the source of life and  blessedness, and die, O House of Israel?”

1 Chronicles 7:14:   “If my people . . . will turn from their wicked ways”

Isaiah 55:6-7:   “. . . let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts . . .”

Jeremiah 3:12, 13:   “Return, thou backsliding Israel . . . acknowledge your iniquity, that you have  transgressed against Yahweh your God.”

Ezekiel 18:30-32:   “Repent, and be turned from your transgressions . . .cast away from you all  your transgressions, and get a new heart and a new spirit . . .”

Hosea 14:1:   “O Israel, return unto Yahweh your God; for you have fallen by your iniquity.”

Joel 2:12- 13:  “Turn you, even to Me, with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with  mourning; rend your heart . . . turn to Yahweh for He is gracious . . .”

Amos 5:4-6:   “Seek Yahweh and you shall live”

Zephaniah 2:2-3:   “before the day of the Lord’s anger come upon you, . . . seek righteousness”

Malachi 3:7:   “Return unto Me, and I will return to you, says Yahweh:

And in the New Testament as well!  Repentance in the NT means a change of mind and heart; it means humbly confessing that God speaks the truth with regard to our sin, i.e. ‘facing it squarely’
“Repentance is,” as Richard Roberts puts it, “the first word of the Gospel.”

Matthew 3:2:   John the Baptist: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:17:   Jesus first message: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Luke 13:3, 5:   “. . . unless you repent, you too will all perish.”  (twice)

Luke 24:46-49:  “. . . repentance and forgiveness of sin will be preached in His name . . .”

Acts 3:19:   “Repent, then, and turn to God so your sins may be wiped out”

Acts 17:30:   “God commands all men everywhere to repent”

1 John 1:9:  “If we confess our sins (repentance is assumed here), He is faithful and just . . .”

Revelation 2 and 3:  5 times in 7 short letters comes the call to “repent”

Because we may be ‘hard of hearing’ (we assume it is not spoken to us or we are not careful ‘how we hear’, Luke 8:18) we may need to pray the refrain repeated three times in Ps. 80:3, 7, 19.  We must listen not just with our ears, but with obedient hearts!

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