How God's Goodness Leads Us To Repentance
Posted September 1, 2009
Thanks for your response.
When I read this passage, I saw something in it that I had not seen before - obviously there's a clear reference to God's sovereignty but I also got a glimpse of his mercy. Here's what I mean:Suppose a man says to God, 'I am guilty but will offend no more. Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.'
Most of us admitting guilt for some offense, would appeal to God for forgiveness, expressing ignorance and repentance as signs of our sincerity. This is a very human response, a defense Job didn't use, because he had done no wrong, yet this defense was similar to Job's in that any human who bargains with God puts himself on an equal footing with God. When Job began questioning God's right to bring trouble into Job's life, he was, in effect, challenging God's sovereignty. Elihu's (God's) response to the challenge was to throw the ball back into Job's court:Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent? You must decide, not I; so tell me what you know.
In other words, if Job wanted God to play on his (Job's) terms, would he (Job) be willing to accept the just punishment due for refusing to repent? But here's the amazing twist, the angle that I never saw until this week - When God threw the challenge to Job, he also revealed that his mercy is greater than what Job (or any of us) would experience if he (we) insisted on having our terms met. I.e., if God operated under our terms of righteous judgment, then the unrepentant sinner deserves his just reward. However, under God's plan of reconciliation of all to him, even the unrepentant receives mercy. Who could then complain about God's involvement in our lives, even when it includes unpleasant experiences?J____
You have hit the nail on the head. If God were to deal with any of us without mercy, we would all be 'dead meat.'
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.Thank God that it is His goodness that brings us (like Job) to repentance.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
The whole book of Job, including the part which chronicles Job's lack of understanding, is an account of our lives and God's sovereign hand in leading us to repentance. I know I wear these two verses out, but they are so little understood.
Psa 139:16 Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.
Ecc 9:2 All things come alike to all: [there is] one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as [is] the good, so [is] the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.
What this tells us is that even the first Adam is a vital part of "His goodness which leads us to repentance," because there is no need for redemption for a 'righteous man.'
Mat 9:13 But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Mar 2:17 When Jesus heard [it], he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Luk 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
It seems incredible to the natural man, but the only people with whom God is dealing at this time are those who have left the sheepfold, and those who have left their father.
Luk 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
Luk 15:25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
Luk 15:26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
Luk 15:27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
Luk 15:28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
Luk 15:29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
Luk 15:30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
Luk 15:31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
Luk 15:32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
This sounds very similar to how Christ describes his own experience in this "valley of the shadow of death" we call a body of flesh and blood.
Rev 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
"Neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment." Job is first the elder son, before He become the prodigal, who in true Godly repentance can truthfully say:
Job 42:6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me J____. It really is amazing the way God deals with us, as He did with Job, and "through His goodness He leads us to repentance."Your brother in Christ,