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April 16, 2024: Repentance and Restoration

Come, let’s return to the Lord. For he has torn us, and he will heal us; he has wounded us, and he will bind up our wounds. He will revive us after two days, and on the third day he will raise us up so we can live in his presence. Let’s strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land. (Hosea 6:1–3, CSB)

What happens when people turn away from the Lord? People often turn away individually, but also has large portions of the Church. Hosea described Israel as a harlot for she had turned from God, her covenant partner, to chase idolatry. They who had been called as God’s people now served other gods, lived outside the covenant promises, and thus hated God.

God brings judgment on infidelity. Yes, I know that judgment is not a popular subject in the American Church. God has been reimagined to resemble a permissive parent who little cares about personal picadilloes but rather grants general amnesty for all sin. This is not new. Paul himself chastised such heresy: What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1–2, CSB)

Hosea prophesizes to Israel’s infidelity and her failure to live the covenant commitments to Him. Judgment is brought to such infidelity. God’s discipline is a divine act of love: … My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or lose heart when you are reproved by him, for the Lord disciplines the one he loves and punishes every son he receives.” (Hebrews 12:5–6, CSB). The great promise given through Hosea is the restoration of Israel to God. They will be brought back to Him. Those whom He has torn, He will heal. We should respond to Discipline with repentance. Repentance reveals the great promises of reconciliation and restoration.

We are in a time and place where repentance is necessary. Much of the Western Church has turned away from the Lord. Just as the individual is called to confess and repent, so too are we corporately. The rapid decline that we have observed is a direct outcome of corporate infidelity. We can neither redefine God or rewrite His Word and be in right relationship. New tactics, better advertising, or changes to our worship will never get to the problem of decline. It is one of repentance and restoration. Let us pursue God on His terms and to His glory!

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