Have You Returned Home to Christ? If not, why not?! Please Think About It?
Please enjoy the “Gospel” taken from “The Leather Journal” of Pastor Phil Newton of the South Woods Baptist Church, Memphis, TN. His other works can be heard and read at South Woods BC’s web page found at https://www.southwoodsbc.org/ This is brought to you by The Inverted Christian found at https://www.invertedchristian.com/ Stop by and check out our latest blogs and such.
Have You Returned Home to Christ? If not, why not?!
Please Think About It?
The Way of Return
“I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them” (Hosea 14:4).
The tender theme of mercy found in the early part of Hosea concludes this prophetic book. In between, the chapters ring painfully with strong words of judgment, warnings of divine vengeance upon the nation of Israel that has spurned the Lord at every turn and pursued idolatry with not even a blush. The previous chapter exposes the raw edge of idolatry’s consequences. Israel exalted itself. The nation put their trust in images made with their hands. They wanted to be like the other nations—and so they were; and like them, without the Lord God and His favor.
Yet, on the heels of judgment there are offers of mercy from the Lord. He calls them to repentance, described as not just turning away from their iniquities but turning to the Lord. The repentant life follows after the Lord and His ways. But any sensible person would wonder how that might happen. They had been so wicked in all their ways, and here the Lord calls upon them to return. Knowing their hesitancy, He tells them, “Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, ‘Take away all my iniquity and receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips.” No merit, no arguing with Him, no attempt to land their own terms of returning, but admit their sin and plead with Him who alone can take away sin. “Receive us graciously,” receive us out of Your abundant grace. The prayer continues with confession that they will no longer trust in other nations or battle strength but in the God who is full of mercy for the broken.
The Lord declares, “I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them.” Who but the Lord, even in the face of their rebellious ways, would heal their apostasies—their departing from the truth of His revelation of Himself? Who but the Lord would love them freely with genuine love that doesn’t dredge up past failures? Who but the Lord who had declared His judgments in page after page of Hosea would turn away from His anger in great mercy? Here’s where we must look closely and be struck with wonder. God is that gracious! We may look at sins we’ve committed, things we’ve said in harshest rebellion, and apostasy that would rival Israel’s waywardness, and think, ‘There’s no way He can forgive and love me. There’s no way He will turn away from the anger I deserve from Him.’ Yet here we see mercy declared.
However, someone may think, ‘But how can I know that He will do what He indicates?’ Look ahead to God sending His Son, dying in our place at the focal point of divine judgment at the cross, and bearing away the guilt and satisfying the divine wrath. Look to Jesus Christ. See mercy displayed before our eyes as the pure, blameless sin-bearer removed the stain of our iniquity by His bloody death.
Do you wonder about the extent of God’s mercy? Do not try to find the answer in yourself. It’s not there. Don’t we try to do that along the way? We want to find some personal reason that God might do what He promises in forgiving sin and restoring fellowship with Him. But the answer isn’t in us. Find the answer in Jesus on the cross. For there alone can we see the face of God turning away from our sin, putting it away forever, and receiving us even as He receives His Beloved Son. Return, the Lord says. He has made the way of return through the cross of His Son.
This is brought to you by The Inverted Christian found at https://www.invertedchristian.com/ Stop by and check out our latest blogs and such.