Return, Faithless One

February 27, 2014

Friends,
The Lord Almighty is continuously pleading with His faithless people to return to Him. He is our Father, our Husband, and our God. (Jer. 3:12-25 // 2 Cor. 6:16-18 & 11:2) Why do so many think that they can treat Him with such irreverence, and through their sin, violate the covenant? (Ma. 2:4-8 // Heb. 10:29) To defile God’s temple is abhorrent to God and He will, if they do not repent, condemn them with the hypocrites. (Mt. 24:48-51 // 1 Cor. 3:16,17)

God says, “Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” (Jer. 3:22) Many people teach that it is God who must be waited on to bring a person back to Himself. This is not correct. God has already been (patiently) drawing all mankind to repentance and to Himself, by what Christ did on the cross. (John 12:32 // 2 Peter 3:9) All day long, day after day, God has been holding out His hands to an obstinate people. (Isa. 65:2) Time after time He sends His messengers to urge the wayward to be reconciled to God through Christ. (2 Cor. 5:20)

When a sinner stops and tunes his ear to God’s voice, how does he come to, or return to, God? He must ask the Lord to restore him to Himself so that he may return. (Lam. 5:21) This is where God does do the work. But God must be asked. It is like any relationship needing reconciliation. One person initiates and the other responds. God has initiated reconciliation already –through Christ’s redeeming work, through the Word He has given us, through His Spirit who convicts, and even through the proclamation about God which creation itself shouts out. (Ps. 19:1-4 // Rom. 1:19,20) A person must respond to these, and in humility, ask God to forgive him and reconcile him. (Ho. 14:2)

But what else must a person do besides ask God for this ability to return to Him? The person must acknowledge his guilt. (Jer. 3:13 // Ho. 5:15) God requires this. He requires that a person acknowledge his rebellion, idolatry, and sin (same verses) and make a (genuine) pledge to Him to renounce these forever. (Ho. 14:3) This forsaking of wicked ways and evil thoughts (Isa. 55:7) while turning to the Lord and calling upon Him for pardon (v. 6,7), is what many –those who are disingenuously contrite– do not seem to understand. For God, most definitely, freely pardons only those who forsake their sin and their faithlessness. (v. 7)

So, “Return, faithless one,” declares the LORD. “I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful.” (See Jer. 3:12)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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