By Elizabeth Prata
It’s vacation week for much of America. I’m going to go a little easy myself this week and get a bunch of reading done. I thought for this week I’d bring forward some of the early essays I wrote.
With 5,200 essays written here since 2009, there are some you may have missed, lol. You can see my heart even since the earliest days of this blog. This one comes from November 2012.
The Bible is full of examples of people given time to repent but they refused.
One that comes to mind is in Jeremiah 5:
“O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent.” (Jeremiah 5:3)
The situation in this chapter is dire. Isaiah had prophesied doom for 50 years in the century before Jeremiah’s prophesying. The people did not take it seriously enough. By the time Jeremiah came along, they did not know it but the prophecies of destruction and abandonment were almost upon them. It happened in Jeremiah’s lifetime. The LORD is patient, giving time to repent!
God’s willingness to spare and bless the nation if the people repent is a theme throughout the Bible. He is patient, too. He says repent, and waits in Amos 4:6, Zephaniah 3:2, and Zechariah 7:11 to name just a few examples. In the New Testament Jesus called for repentance to the false prophetess He calls a ‘Jezebel’. In Rev 2:21 it is written, “I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.”
They refused to repent.
The Lord is gracious and kind, always calling for us to repent and giving us time to do so. Seems amazing, doesn’t it? That they refuse. Even after prophets prophesy a direct word from the LORD, they don’t. Even after they receive a direct letter from the Lord as in Revelation, they refuse.
Lest we think that the refusals to repent are an Old Testament, bygone behavior, here is an update from two dedicated servants of the Lord on mission in a South American jungle. Though they are seeing some harvest, they sadly report heartbreaking news. As they were welcomed into homes and they presented the Gospel, they saw some commit their lives to Christ. Praise the Lord for that! Every single soul added to heaven is a praise to the Lord in His loving-kindness. Yet…
“After we clearly presented the Gospel, we asked, “Do you understand what we are sharing?” and several responded that they did understand. When asked if they were ready to receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord, they said “No.”
“Why would they respond this way? The local believers said it is because they find pleasure in their sin and are not ready to forsake their sinful ways. They understand that in following Christ, they will have to leave their lives of immorality, drunkenness, and other sinful ways. They are not willing to give up their sin.”
They understood but refused, preferring to remain in their sin.
Paul wrote, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” (Romans 2:5).
That Day is fast approaching. Please do not reject any Gospel message you hear. As Wesley said, “man may refuse it; God will not compel.” The fact that the Gospel exists is a praise to the Lord who died as the substitution for our sin, becoming sin who knew no sin and enduring all of God’s wrath as punishment for it. And it is a praise to Him who was resurrected and who now sends witnesses, ambassadors, and missionaries to proclaim His beautiful truth- that He loves you and He wants you to become part of His family. As in the Old Testament times, God’s willingness to spare and bless the nation and spare and bless and individuals who repent still stands. But equally true, as Paul said, there will come a day when His righteous judgment will be revealed. I can’t imagine how it will be for those who have heard but who have consciously and willfully rejected Him. Worse still, having rejected Him for the reason they they want to extend their season of sin is a terrible reason.
Sin is actual rebellion against God. It is not a matter of taking pleasure in alcohol, adultery, homosexuality, carousing, thievery or what have you. No. In fact, each of those acts and all sins are a direct poke in God’s eye.
So as you pray tonight, pray for all those who have heard the Gospel message and have refused to repent. Our missionaries asked, “pray with us that they will desire the hope that is only in Christ, obey the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and receive Jesus as the Savior and Lord of their lives.”
Be careful, reject Jesus and you will accept another.
I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. (John 5:43)
He will reject you on the last day…
He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. (John 12:48)