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Finding the Courage to Repent

July 7, 2018

Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Joel 2:13

People don’t repent because someone tells them that what they are doing is wrong. People repent when they see that God is good. Joel gives us five encouragements to return to the Lord:

  1. He is gracious. “Grace” means that God does not treat us as our sins deserve.
  2. He is merciful. God has compassion on us in our need.
  3. He is slow to anger. The day of the Lord has not yet come. Until then, the way is open. God is ready and willing for you to be reconciled to him.
  4. He is abounding in steadfast love. God poured out his love for you at the cross. What more could he do to show you that he loves you?
  5. He relents over disaster. God warns us ahead of time about the day of the Lord, and he provides a way out through Jesus, so we can avoid the ultimate disaster.

“The day of the Lord is great and very awesome; who can endure it?” (2:11). No one. But one man did! All the judgment due to sinners was poured out on him. He endured it. He absorbed it. That man was God himself—God in the flesh, God with us and God for us. God was, in Jesus Christ, reconciling us to himself.

God says: “Return to me with all your heart.” When should you repent? Now, at the height of your trouble, while you are still in your sin, while you feel ashamed and unworthy. “Yet even now… return to me with all your heart” (2:12), and you will be embraced with steadfast love.

Where do you see God’s goodness in these 5 reasons?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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