Monday, October 6, 2014

Biblical Repentance

My previous post on the idolatry of Mormonism has gotten a lot of attention. My prayer is that someone in bondage to that cult has had his eyes opened by the Holy Spirit. If so, he may be wondering what to do, how to move to a new relationship with the true and living God. So that is what I want to address here.

In Jeremiah 3:12-14, God says:
"Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say,
‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the Lord;
I will not be angry forever.
Only acknowledge your guilt,
that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree,
and that you have not obeyed My voice, declares the Lord.
Return, O faithless children, declares the Lord;
for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion.'"

The circumstances of this prophecy are that Israel, the northern kingdom, has already been deported by her Assyrian conquerors, never to be seen again. Yet, Judah, the southern kingdom, has failed to learn the lesson laid out before her eyes. Israel had turned to idols, and Jehovah her God had judged her. Even with this testimony, Judah is also guilty of idolatry, and refuses to put away her idols. And now Jehovah pleads with her to repent, before He is provoked to judgment. It is sad to know how the story proceeds. Judah refused to repent, and God judged her through the Babylonians.

But anyone reading this, whether an idolatrous Mormon, or Jehovah's Witness, or mere unbeliever, you can learn the lesson that Judah failed to heed.

What does God say? He promises not to hold his anger against you, for He is merciful. And what does He expect from you? To acknowledge your guilt and rebellion against Him, for you have given what you owe to Him to gods of the imagination, instead - gods invented, whether by Joseph Smith or by the Watchtower. And if you do so, if you make that reversal, He will bring you to Zion, His true bride, the true Church of Christ (I'm not using that as a denominational name).

This is repentance, to turn from your sin and to God. But this isn't a trade. He doesn't say that your repentance is equal to His forgiveness. He doesn't say that your repentance earns His forgiveness. It's not a magical formula. Rather, the Bible tells us that God grants us repentance! We see this is Acts 5:31 and II Timothy 2:25 (hold your cursor over the references, and the text will come up in a box). Repentance is something that He does in your heart, not something that you work as some kind of favor to Him. So, if you have come to the point of sorrowing for your idolatry, and looking to Him for His forgiveness and redemption, then you should also glorify Him for this, His merciful gift to you.

And that has been my prayer, that He would soften hearts trapped in the poisoned claws of pseudo-Christian cults, that they may turn to the biblical Jesus, God in the flesh, for forgiveness and new birth.

No comments: