Every time I read Proverbs 26:11, it is meaningful to me, As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. Once you have learned a hard lesson, don’t be a fool and repeat the same mistake. Accept God’s mercy and grace, then move on and don’t come back.
Sin is sin, there is no getting around it. And when we sin, we live as though there is no right or wrong. 1 John 3:4 says: Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. It is one thing to sin, it is something completely different to continue sinning. We all sin, but we can not hide from continual sin and act as though it is normal. When we sin, we must confess our sin and work towards sinning no more.
At times, we may think God moves slowly when it comes to answering our prayers. But it is important to remember that God is not on our timeline, nor does He move according to our will. 2 Peter 3:9 says, The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to parish, but everyone to come to repentance. God moves in accordance with His will and timeline to give all of us time to find Him. It may seem as though people are no longer looking for God, but He is not about the numbers. He is simply waiting on all who are willing to believe and come to Him.
As we finish the book of Acts, Paul finally made it to Rome and was able to share his experience and the truth about Jesus. Some heard and believed, while others heard and did not believe. In Acts 28:26-27 Paul quotes from the prophet Isaiah 6:9-10, 26 ” ‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” 27 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ “ Paul’s example of obedience shows us it is our job to share the gospel of Christ, not to convince people or to judge them if they don’t believe. Only God can change a person’s heart.
God asks us for nothing more than repentance. In the parable of the prodigal son, the father did not require anything of the son in order to welcome him home with open arms. In Luke 15:21 the lost son comes to his father, “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'” There was nothing more needed by the father, just like there is nothing needed of us for God to accept us just as we are. No where does it say we must become perfect for Him to accept us. Our change comes from our relationship with Him. Our obedience and love for God comes because He first loved us.
In today’s reading, Jesus’ interaction with the accused adulteress and religious leaders showed His true purpose in coming to earth: grace. John 8:10-11 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” When Jesus provides grace, He doesn’t give us a free license to sin, He gives us freedom from the consequences of sin. After he provides grace, just like He did for the woman, He expects repentance and a changed life.
When we attempt to bring others to a place of repentance based on our own convictions, we fail. It is only through God’s conviction, through the Holy Spirit, that brings true repentance leading to salvation. In 2 Corinthians 7:10 Paul says, Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. When we act like everyone else, in self-righteous judgement, we bring no one closer to God or a place where they can repent. God called us to love Him and love others. Everything outside of that, especially judgement, is unproductive and leads people further away and not closer to Him.
I just realized I doubled last week’s reading with this week, so that means we are reading last week’s chapters again this week. Good thing these chapters are filled with information we can learn from.
This time around in Luke 3, the last sentence in verse 16 stood out to me, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Baptism with fire symbolizes the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing God’s judgement on those who refuse to repent. While God offers salvation freely, He does require us to repent and realize we cannot do it without His saving grace.
I did not get a lot out of today’s reading, but the last verse caught my eye. Isaiah 48:22 says, “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.” True peace comes from repentance.
As we finish up the book of Micah, verse 18 struck me as a great reminder of God’s grace, 18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. God delights to show mercy! He is glad when we repent and offers forgiveness freely to anyone who comes to Him and asks. When we put away our pride and ask God for forgiveness, He delights in us and shows us grace and mercy of our sins.
As part of this Thanksgiving day, let us be thankful for all God has given to us.