Importance of repentance

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Repentance is of central importance because sin brings God’s judgment and fellowship with God is only possible through full and sincere repentance. God, through his servants, calls people to repent as the only way to escape the judgment and receive the forgiveness and restoration which he offers.

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The call to repentance

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Repentance opens the way for blessing

It is the only way to escape God’s judgment

Ezekiel 18:30–32 ESV
“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”
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It prepares the way for God’s kingdom

Matthew 4:17 ESV
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
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It brings forgiveness and restoration

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God desires that all people should repent

He wants everyone to be saved

Ezekiel 18:23 ESV
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?

His patience with the unrepentant

2 Peter 3:9 ESV
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
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His discipline encourages repentance

Jeremiah 31:18–20 ESV
I have heard Ephraim grieving, ‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the Lord my God. For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’ Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the Lord.
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Taking God’s opportunity for repentance

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Refusing God’s opportunity for repentance

Examples of those who refuse to repent

Jeremiah 35:15 ESV
I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, ‘Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to you and your fathers.’ But you did not incline your ear or listen to me.
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God confirms those who refuse to repent in their hardness of heart

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Repentance may not remove the effects of human sin

The Israelites’ repentance could not prevent the wandering that resulted from their refusal to enter the promised land; Saul’s repentance is too late to escape God’s judgment on his kingship; Despite David’s repentance the son of his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba still died; Esau’s repentance could not bring back the birthright he had sold to Jacob.
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