We have read this chapter now for four days and observed the importance of repentance. As we leave this chapter I would mention three incentives to repentance.
The first is the purity of God. We remember the response of Isaiah when he had his vision of the Lord high and lifted up (Isa. 6). He said that he was a man of unclean lips and that he lived among a people of unclean lips. It was when he realised this that the Lord was able to use him.
A second incentive to repentance is the power of God. I don’t mean by this his power to crush us (that is the danger that impenitent people face). Rather it is his power at work on our behalf. Remember the response of Peter after he had witnessed the miraculous catch of fish. He fell at Jesus’ feet and said, ‘Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’ It was when he said these words that Jesus promised to use Peter as a servant: ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men’ (Luke 5:8-10).
The third incentive is the promises of God to penitent people. There is the great promise made to Israel in Deuteronomy 30:1-3: ‘And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.’ And there are many more such promises.