Turning To God

Last week I did a few posts on the word “repent.” Repentance, in relationship to salvation, means to turn. You make a choice to turn from sin and turn to God. 1 Thessalonians 1:9 is a good example of repentance in action.

One of the major differences between Law and Grace is who God is dealing with. Under the Mosaic Law God is dealing with Israel as a nation. He often tells them about the day when they will turn from their sin and follow God in reference to the Kingdom when Messiah will reign.

When John the Baptist and Jesus Himself came preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sins, this had to be somewhat of a shock. Individuals could repent of sin and come to God and be saved! This is out of character for what we’ve seen with turning in the OT.

Turning to God for salvation in the OT was largely under the context of the Nation rather than the individual. God’s Kingdom consisted of a Nation in a Land. God’s people now consists of individuals who have come to Christ regardless of nationality or land.

Certainly it took individuals to turn if the nation were going to, but if you read the passages talking about the restoration of the Israelite Kingdom you will note it’s used in regard to the nation, not the individual.

The great thing about salvation in our day is the glory of it is not dependent on others! It’s dependent on you getting yourself right with God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Israel has to wait for God to move in them collectively to get their Nation glorified. Again, thank God for grace and the freedom we have as individuals to enter the throne of grace with boldness.

2 thoughts on “Turning To God”

  1. Obviously, OT law dealt with judgment on the nation as a whole (visiting the iniquity of/love for the fathers on their children, etc.). This judgment was earthly–obedience brought material prosperity, and disobedience brought about a curse on the land and invasion by foreigners.

    So before the coming of Christ, what was the basis of an individual’s salvation? Paul clearly states that it was faith (Romans 4:13). And such faith requires a change of heart–repentance–doesn’t it? (Maybe I’m missing something from what you’re saying.) Perhaps the Israelites didn’t see the need for individual repentance in their day (my, how some things never change), but clearly it was as necessary before Christ as it is now.

  2. Faith was always necessary for salvation as you say. But the specific concept of turning to God is always used in relation to the nation. There is no “gospel” message in the OT, there was a national responsibility that each individual was accountable for. I’m drawing a fine distinction here I realize. Actually, I’m trying to develop a thought a get feedback, trying out an idea to see if it floats, not really sure where it’s headed! Continue to let me know what you think.

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