Did you know that even God repents? He does not repent as we do, because He is sinless, blameless, pure and Holy, but He repents when he has to chastise us for our sinfulness. 1 Chronicles 21 records the incident of how David was enticed by Satan to do the evil of numbering his people which was an expression of his own abilities and not his dependence on God and so God sent forth an angel to destroy Jerusalem and seventy thousand men were killed. God’s disciplining arm was indeed an expression of His love, for God chastises whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6). But when God’s judgment fell on His people for the sin of David, God said, “Enough“, and He held back the punishment. He prefers our repentance over His revenge/repayment; our confession over His chastisement.
Jesus started His ministry preaching “Repent, for the kingdom of God is near”. The counsel that is given to the Church of Ephesus is that they ought to repent because they had forsaken their first love (Revelation 2:4-5). This counsel is very much applicable to each one of us as well. In our humanness, we have the tendency to forget and forsake our first love and fall, many times not realizing as to how far we fall. We backslide foolishly when we seek short term pleasure in exchange for long term pain, making mistakes and hurting not only God, but many a times our beloved ones. It is therefore important for us to first remember and then repent; remember from where we have fallen, so that we can experience the depth of grace, as to how far God and our loved ones needs to reach down, to lift us up back out of the miry pit. The road to restoration begins with repenting our sins to God and reconciling with the ones we have hurt. The blessed assurance that remains, thankfully is that no matter how sinful we have been, there is no accusation or condemnation in Christ Jesus. God is willing to forgive us, when we earnestly seek Him and repent of our evil ways. He says, “Come let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18). Jesus expressed that the prayer of a penitent (repenting) sinner will not go unheard by God and we can be assured of this. His unconditional love and grace extends from the purest of saints to the vilest of sinners (and I count myself to be one among the latter).
As Christians, who have the foreknowledge of Salvation, when we backslide, we need to remember and repent (which is to turn back completely) so that God can restore in us a clean heart, one that genuinely loves Him and His people. When we repent, we need to confess for when we confess, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).
1 Chronicles 21:15 (KJV)
15 And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
Revelation 2:4-5 (KJV)
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works;
Isaiah 1:18 (KJV)
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
1 John 1:9 (KJV)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.