“Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:7
God is to be admired and appreciated and worshipped for His mercy. If God was not holy and did not hate sin, then His mercy wouldn’t be a big deal. But, the very God who we offend with our sins, opens the door of mercy to repenting sinners. In His address here to Israel, He gives great encouragement to repentance, promising that He will return to them. Even though the people of Israel had a long history of rebellion, God’s longsuffering and generous patience is seen in this call to repentance.
What is it to repent? It is to recognize our sinful actions as being sinful before God, and to assume responsibility for them. This is called confession. It is to ask for God’s forgiveness of this sin, based on the redeeming sacrifice of Christ. It is a commitment and desire to turn from that sin, and instead to do that which pleases the Lord. Repentance recognizes the need of God’s grace to forgive sin, and His power to live in righteousness.
For those who have never genuinely come to God thru Christ, there is a need to repent now, turning from self towards God. But, there is also a need for genuine disciples to live a life of repentance. Repenting is not a single action only, but a lifestyle. Because we sin daily, to some degree we daily need to turn back to God seeking His mercy and power. The alternative is dreadful. Many times in Scripture we see the foolishness and destruction caused by one who continues in sin, refusing to turn to God. May we show we appreciate God’s generous mercy by turning to it day after day.
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