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April 14, 2017

Text: “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;  13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.” Joel 2:12-13 

Repentance is a foundational and integral portion of a relationship with God. Its activity in man’s heart promotes moral growth and formation of an infant and throughout life. The involvement of morality  to one’s soul is certain to stimulate guilt as a warning about one’s behavior in relation to the recognition of right and wrong. Webster’s Dictionary gives several synonyms for repentance: (e.g. contriteness, contrition, penitence) and others to recognize and utililize concepts of right and wrong in the heart.

The concept of repentance can be utilized correctly or it can be neglected and overruled. When guilt is truly recognized, repentance  can be exercised to receive proper forgiveness from God and from men. This is a very necessary part of one’s moral education. On the other hand, repentance can be manipulated and hardened so as to allow it to be ignored. Handle repentance gently. Let no man argue that he has no guilt nor need to repent to the righteous God. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:10  

What is meant by “repent”? In college I frequently attended church services in Oklahoma City where James Kinney was the regular preacher. Bro. Kinney was somewhat a dramatic preacher and on this day he preached on “Repentance”.  He gave some illustrations of what that word means. All of a sudden he raised his Bible and plunked it loudly on the top of the pulpit, then stormed off the dais loudly and walking briskly to the exit proclaimed, “I won’t put up with this any more!” But nearing the door he stopped, reversed his direction and entered the pulpit again. “That’s what repentance is: making a turn around from wrong to right!”

God has a great heart for penitence and forgiveness. He is ready and waiting to forgive and forget.  PENITENCE is neither dispensable nor can it be assuaged by ‘terms”. In our age it seems that men believe that God can be haggled with. As the days of the much-beloved King David of Israel drew to a close, God affirmed his covenant with David be continued with his son Solomon. During the inauguration ceremonies Solomon reminds Israelite people how God had blessed his people with the Promised Land.  Daily the heavens rain punishment for God’s punishment for their horrid sins, yet much punishment can be escaped if the people repent. But the word of God cites all the the people must do in their repentance. Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; turn to me with all your heart and he relents over disaster.” Joel 2:12-13  Picture  yourself at the crossroads, embraced on one side by sin and unrighteousness and on the other by purity and irreproachableness, you realize that you are being ripped apart. The penitent heart demonstrates your your return to the ways of God. The contest is about allowing repentance to prevail, or sinfulness to reign in you. See the passage above in this paragraph. The sacred writer details what instruments your must utilize to come our forgiven.  These are “the spiritual weapons” for the fight of a soldier of God. God wants “a few good men”! Arm yourselves and repent. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

However, let’s return to our article title and check out the question “Repent when?” It is visible to me that people don’t want to deal with repentance forthrightly. To some folk the admission of their wrongdoings is embarrassing, or such action is something they would like to postpone.  Humiliation makes us uncomfortable. But the Bible insists that penitence sometimes is required with promptness and a confession of shame. And the Bible even insists that penitence can not be postponed. It is a sure thing that sin be owned up to at some point. To be sure, some sinners do seek forgiveness in a timely fashion; other sinners postpone interminably.  The apostles Peter and John visited the church at Samaria and as part of this congregation’s lacking distributed the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. As these disciples began to utilize these gifts publicly in order to attract hearers to the gospel, Simon the Magician attempted to get Peter and James to give him the ability to pass these gifts on to other Christians. Peter rebuked him for such a subversion of the gifts. He promptly called upon them to to pray for his deep shame. He willingly repented “now”.  And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.” Acts 8:24 Prompt repentance for sure! On the other hand, when Paul began to be hounded to death by the persistent Sadducees he was inducted into the criminal system of the Romans. His persecutor was Felix the governor who began to prosecute him with his own cynicism. Surprisingly, Paul appears to have begun to soften the severity with the message of  the gospel. The apostle reasoned with ” righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment”  (Acts 24:25) and Felix seems to have recognized a concern for repentance, but not much urgency, for he says to Paul, “Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” Acts 24:25 

Yes, Repentance when?


















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