Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Repentance Leads to God’s Forgiveness.
Philip Manuel & Laila Anie Philip
Carmel MTC, Boston
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. (Jonah 3:10)
The Book of Jonah tells the story of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah who is sent by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh but he tries to escape the divine mission.
1. Jonah’s second commission to Nineveh.
God sent Jonah to Nineveh to warn them of the impending judgment because of their evil ways. Jonah obeyed the Lord the second time and proclaimed the message to the people.
2. Call for Repentance
Jonah’s proclamation resulted in a real repentance and this repentance began from the bottom up. Though the Ninevites were Gentiles, they believed in the Hebrew God and heeded the warning. By the time the word reached the king, the city’s repentance was already well under way, but because the king also believed Jonah’s warning, he made every effort to assure total compliance. He began by personally repenting (3:6) The King did not just call the people to fast and mourn, he calls for a change in behavior. (v8) God wants a change of heart, and thus a change in behavior. Repentance is making a U-turn from the wrong to the right path.
3. Repentance does not demand a response from God.
The King of Nineveh understands that they do not deserve to be forgiven. He says in verse 9 after calling for repentance, “Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” True repentance does not demand a response from God. But we can rely on God’s promise that when we truly repent, God forgives our sins. (Jeremiah 18:8; Joel 2:13; Amos 7: 3,6; 1 John 1:9; Jonah 4:2)
4. The fruit of Repentance
The King and all the people of Nineveh, from the least person to the greatest of the people when they heard the impending doom, they turned from their evil ways. They believed God (v5). When God saw that they had put a stop to their evil ways, He abandoned His plan to destroy them.
5. The Lesson for our lives
The repentance of the people of Nineveh (their inward action) at the preaching of Jonah is spoken with commendation by Christ in Matthew 12:41. It was God’s will that we should be told of our sinful life, and by doing this, we will be brought to repentance and the destruction threatened to us will be averted. If we do evil in God’s sight and do not obey him, then God will reconsider the good God had intended to do to us (Jeremiah 18: 7-10).
What God really wants from us when we sin against Him is not just fasting and mourning, but a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Repentance begins with our awareness that what we have done is wrong. Recognizing the problem is the first step in solving it. Like Jonah, each of us is called to proclaim God’s loving purpose to everyone we meet, so that they can know of Him. God is in charge and our duty is to work for Him and with Him the way He leads us.Confess our wrongdoings, demonstrate our regret and stop doing the wrong things that we used to do. We have God’s promise that when we repent, He will forgive us and save us.
PRAYERHelp us, O Lord, to be obedient to Your Word and to heed the warnings from Godly people. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.