Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Lord Would Not Repent

One word that I have been blessed with tracing throughout the Bible is the word repent and forms thereof. The main Greek word (metanoeo) used for "repent" in the New Testament means "to change one's mind" - and the Scriptural usage of this English word is "a change of mind resulting in a change of conduct." This can be verified through studying out each passage where this word is used. There are several good books that take an in-depth look at this word throughout the Scriptures, and I highly recommend reading both: Repentance And Soulwinning (previously entitled, Repentance Is More Than A Sinner's Prayer) by David Cloud (which can be ordered through Way Of Life Literature - this book also quotes extensively from oldtime preachers, to show what they believed and preached on this important subject, especially as it relates to salvation); and Except Ye Repent by Harry Ironside.

In relation to man, repentance always deals with their sin and wicked conduct - mostly regarding lost man, but there are also passages dealing with repentance as a believer. Therefore in those passages we see man's repentance (change of mind) regarding his sinful/wayward conduct and his turning away from that sin to the Lord either for salvation or to restore his lost fellowship with God.

However, when it comes to the Lord God, His repentance (change of mind resulting in His change of conduct towards a person or a nation, or regarding a specific thing He said He would or would not do) involves man's sin - ie. changing His mind about the way He is dealing with man: if they are righteous and turn away from the Lord to go into sin, He changes His mind about the way He is blessing and treating them, and now changes His conduct so He is chastising them for their backsliding. If it is regarding a lost man or a nation turning from his/its wickedness to the Saviour, then God repents (changes His mind) about His judgment and cursing of that person or nation, and now gives them a blessing or mercy instead. To emphasis, God's repentance is based on man's conduct - which effects how the Lord will in turn treat them.

This can be clearly seen in Jeremiah 18:

Jeremiah 18:5-10 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

That was all by way of introduction, to explain the term "repentance" and how it is used in Scripture. If you have a concordance or a Bible program, I would highly encourage you to study this word out and each corresponding context for yourself. In the Old Testament, the majority of references to repentance are actually in regards to God (changing His mind about His conduct towards man based on their obedience/faithfulness to His Word or their wickedness/rebellion against it). There are also references to certain things that the Lord has sworn or promised that He would NOT repent of - and this is the focus of my study today.

1. In the first instance, we have God swearing that He would not repent of His blessing of the nation of Israel, when Balaam was hired to curse them:

Numbers 23:19-20 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.

God will not curse His chosen people - though this is spoken of in reference to the nation of Israel, I believe we can make an application to true believers in this age - God will not curse those who are in Christ. Jesus has already borne the curse for our sins and our breaking of His law (see Galatians 3:10, 13).

2. In the second instance, we have God repenting of His choice of Saul as king, and taking away the kingdom from this rebellious monarch:

1 Samuel 15:11, 35 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night... And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Then we read about God's choice of another king (David, the man after His own heart), and his line whom the Lord would never change His mind about or remove:

1 Samuel 15:28-29 And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

This is significant in light of the fact that Jesus, the King of Kings, is from the tribe of Judah and in the line of David. We know that Jesus will reign from Jerusalem one day - and that reign will be eternal. The Lord has promised and will not change His mind about that! (See Isaiah 9:6-7)

3. Jesus, the great High Priest, is the Priest in the order of Melchizedek, an eternal priesthood:

Psalms 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 7:21-22 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

This is good news for believers - though we fall and falter, we will ALWAYS have a High Priest in Heaven pleading for us before the throne of God. Nothing can change that! (See Hebrews 4:14-15 and 1 John 2:1-2) God the Father would not change His mind about the Priesthood of His Son!

4. The Lord will not repent of His prophesied judgments:

Jeremiah 4:28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.

Ezekiel 24:13-14 In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee. I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.

To comment much on these passages here is beyond the scope of my present study, but I will note that for those nations and individuals that refuse to repent, there is coming a day of judgment - whether temporal (as in the cases here - whether it be past judgments on Israel and those nations surrounding them, or future judgments as they will see during the Day of the Lord) or eternal (at the Great White Throne judgment) where God will pour out His fury and wrath on the unrepentant soul. What encourages me about this is the fact that the Lord never changes - He will always be holy and will always be against sin, unlike fickle man!

5. The Lord will not repent of the salvation that He provides:

Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

Praise the Lord - He will not change His mind about our redemption! Those who are saved are saved eternally in Christ - redeemed forever, ransomed from sin, death, and Hell. There is a coming resurrection when all the righteous will be raised immortal, never more to die - and God will not change His mind about that!

6. The last one Scripture mentions is found in the book of Romans:

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

In the context, the Apostle Paul is referring to God's plan for the nation of Israel - one future day, during the Tribulation period, all remaining Israel will be saved. God will not change His mind about that! He will also not change His mind about the Gospel call to salvation - Jesus is the way to Heaven, and eternal life is only found in Him. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:14). God will not change His mind about His "gift" of eternal life - if you are saved, you are saved forever! If you are a child of God, He has a "calling" and a plan for your life - He will not change His mind about that!

While I am sure there was more that could be brought out of each of those passages of Scripture, this gives you something to chew on today. God will not repent of His plan for the nation of Israel, His eternal salvation of believers, His judgment on the unrepentant wicked; nor will He change His mind about Jesus being the eternal High Priest and the King of Kings.

Praise the Lord for these promises! Praise the Lord that He never changes - and will not change His mind about those things we looked at in this study:

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

May 4th/06
Jerry Bouey


Kate said...

What an awesome devo!! The word repent separates the "men from the boys" actually.

This really blessed me, Bro. Jerry!

Maranatha said...

Reading this again almost a year later brought about another blessing!! True repentance is not seen amongst many "professing christians" today. It made me think of John 6:66 (interesting "address" too) how many disciples left Jesus because His teachings were too hard for them. Excellent post, Brother!

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