Repentance

Jon Brown

READ : Hosea 6

Come, let us return to the Lord . . . (v. 1)

The sister to confession is repentance. Confession is acknowledging before God our sinfulness; repentance is turning away from it. God desires both.

The Lord imagines his people saying, “Come, let us return to the Lord.” Repentance is confession in action: a moving away from one thing and a turning to something else. In this passage, God longs for the day when the Israelites will turn from their disobedient and idolatrous ways and move in an obedience direction.

It could be said that the entire Reformation was ignited by a call to repentance. The first four of Luther’s famous 95 theses all addressed repentance. Luther even wrote, “Repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.”

Luther called for it in his day, but Christians have always understood this is fundamental to who we are. For this reason the apostle Paul says, “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13) and, “Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly . . . and clothe yourselves with kindness” (Colossians 3:5, 12). For this reason Jesus says to the adulterous woman, “Go your way, and from now on do not sin again” (John 8:11). As important as confession is in the Christian faith, it also requires repentance.

PRAYER

Give us strength, Lord, as we turn from the sins we confess. Amen.