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Where Repentance Begins

July 6, 2018

Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. Joel 2:15-16

When a national disaster hits, it’s very easy for Christian people to say, “Our country needs to repent.” But repentance always begins with those who know God. It begins with those who believe. And among God’s people it begins first with those who are most spiritually mature, which is why Joel speaks here about the elders.

Consider this striking statistic: In 1980, the percentage of Americans who regularly worshipped in church was about 34 percent. By 2000, that number dropped to just 17 percent. Today it is even lower. So, here is the question: Where does repentance need to begin? Is it with those who have left the church? No. Repentance always begins with those who believe. It begins with us.

In his book, The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer described how Christianity in America in the 1960s was gradually being emaciated: “Faith that trusts God has been replaced by bare belief… Christianity has been relieved of repentance, obedience, and cross-carrying.”

We will not see a repentant nation until we have a repenting church. Repentance and faith are like two sides of the same coin: All who truly believe repent, and all who truly repent believe. That’s how you know a true Christian.

If you long to see our country turn back to God, you can do something about it. Come before the Lord in repentance for yourself and on behalf of the nation.


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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