Usually when we hear the word “repent” we envision the bearded man with wild eyes screaming at people over outstretched arm and pointed finger. We probably associate the word more with the Law than Grace.

“Repent” is not a Law word at all. In fact, repenting has nothing to do with the law. Repentance means to admit fault and apologize. The Law very clearly said, “disobey and you’re toast.” God didn’t much care if you were sorry or repentant. Ask David.

Repentance is actually more a Grace word. Repentance is what brings about a change, a second chance. Romans 2:4 says it is the goodness of God that leads to repentance. God’s goodness is seen in Grace, which is why a person would repent and turn to God.

If you look up “repent” in your concordance you will note that it’s really not used much at all. In the OT it’s primarily used of God and usually in reference to just feeling bad. The common use of repentance, to turn from, is only used two times in Ezekiel 14:6 and 18:30 (this is more obvious if you have the Strong’s numbers listed). Both these uses deal with the future restoration of the Nation.

All that to say that repentance is only possible through God’s grace. It’s really a nice word through what it implies. I’ll develop the thought further with another interesting note on John the Baptist in a bit.

3 thoughts on “Repent!”

  1. Amen!!!! Brother. (And I don’t mean Brother in the Baptist sense, I mean Brother in the family sense).

  2. Minor point, but David’s repentance did have an effect…he didn’t get whacked (2 Sam. 12:13).

    However, God’s justice in enforcing his law and covenant is indeed a huge part of OT teaching…in fact, it made it into the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:5-6). That’s what makes grace so precious. It’s often hard to believe it (for me anyway), but we will not be condemned for our sins because of the work of Jesus Christ. That’s not just good news–it’s amazing news. Or at least it is for those who know their own guilt under the Law.

  3. No, David did not die for his sin, but lots of other people didn’t die immediately either for their sins. But David was still punished, that’s my point. I’d be willing to bet that David would have rather died than his son, which was the judgment he ended up enduring, not to mention his kingdom being wrecked, his family devestated by fighting and his concubines publicly humiliated. I’d say that’s pretty good judgment.

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