Jeremiah 3:1d “Yet return to Me,” says the Lord.
Jeremiah 3:7 “And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’
Jeremiah 3:14,15 “Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord, “for I am married to you…I will give you shepherds who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
Repentance is not just Old Testament. Sometimes I forget this. And yes, I sin. As Paul said in Romans 3:23, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Consider the cost. Christ suffered and died on a cross and was resurrected to set me free from the penalty of my sins. And consider the need. Romans 8:21, “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God…O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Still, the consequences of sinful behaviors do not go unnoticed by God. Jeremiah 5:18 illustrates that God will address the sins of His people. “Nevertheless, in those days,” says the Lord, “I will not make a complete end of you. And it will be when you say, ‘Why does the Lord our God do all these things to us?’ then you shall answer them…'” The Apostle Paul, too, wrote his response after chastising his flock in Corinth, “Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner…For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted…What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication!” II Corinthians 7:9
God has not changed His mind about me or man or sin in general. He always calls His bride to repentance. He offers mercy and grace to those who are called by His name. Will the Law require my death? Yes, but I don’t live under the Law. Thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord, I live under grace!Yet, as I walk out my salvation, I am convicted by the Holy Spirit (and reading Paul’s letters in the New Testament!) of my sins and am made sorrowful. I am driven to my knees in repentance knowing that “returning to the Lord” is sweet relief, blessed forgiveness, and deepening love for this merciful God. He is the One who calls me back, talks me down from the ledge, soothes my frayed nerves, and bursts forth His righteousness where mine failed. All because He loves me.
So, no going to God with fear of rejection or punishment, my soul. Remorse, yes. And mostly regret for forgetting that my Father in heaven is the One who loves my soul, speaks healing to my heart, and lifts up my face to see His infinite mercy. My soul is undone every time.
Lord Jesus, You alone make repentance an act of worship and solid hope. Hope knowing that I will be changed, freed, filled with knowledge and understanding. Worship in awe of how a Holy God would want to be in relationship with me. Let me, Your daughter in faith, always stand in Your presence and delight in Your love. Amen.