Real Repentance

Posted: January 7, 2021 in Judges

Judges 10:1-11:11, “Real Repentance”

You know a person is serious when you see action taking place. We hear the phrases, “Put up or shut up,” or “Put your money where your mouth is,” and understand the meaning. It is one thing to say something; it is quite another to our it into practice. A person might make a new year’s resolution to eat better and exercise, but it doesn’t mean much till he/she puts down the pizza and laces up some running shoes.

We might say something similar about repentance. It is one thing to say that we’re sorry; it is another to humble ourselves and take definite action. It is the difference between worldly sorrow (which does nothing) and godly sorrow (which produces true repentance). It is the difference between merely uttering words and (in the words of John the Baptist) bearing fruits worthy of repentance (Lk 3:8), in which our repentance can be both heard and seen.

This was what God desired for Israel in their ongoing saga with Him. They (like us) had the tendency to quickly speak of repentance while being slow to show it. And it needed to change.

Remember that Israel was in the period of the judges. These were deliverers raised up by God, not only to lead the nation but to deliver them from foreign oppressors. In God’s original intent for the Hebrews, they were not supposed to have to deal with oppression in the land, but that was dependent on the Hebrews actually being obedient to their covenant with the Lord. As it was, this was the consequence for their sin. Their repeated idolatry brought repeated turmoil and unless Israel repented, they would not know deliverance.

The most recent in this series of judges was Gideon. He delivered the nation from the Midianites through the evident and obvious power of God. Although he started out with much hesitancy, Gideon walked in abundant faith when he first started out with God. Sadly, it didn’t last. He did not continue to set a good example for Israel and set the nation on a path to trouble.

That trouble came with one of his sons, Abimelech. This man was not a judge raised up by God; he was a usurper…a self-appointed king. Abimelech took for himself what rightly belonged to God and eventually God brought down his evil upon his own head. (Literally! Abimelech’s skull was crushed when a woman dropped a millstone on it.)

This left Israel in an uncommon situation. Technically, they had been delivered from an oppressor, but not a foreign one. Usually, God raised up a deliverer to save Israel from foreigners, but this time there was neither any foreigner (as Abimelech was a Hebrew), nor a judge (Abimelech died in battle). This left the nation without any unifying leader.

What was the nation to do? Start over. They now needed a judge to lead them and God graciously gave them even as the people continued in their rebellion. Through it all, God showed immeasurable patience. But even the patience of God has its limit! Israel would find this limit and learn an important lesson on confession and repentance.

What was that lesson? To do it! Don’t just speak words about repentance; do it. Put it into practice…put up or shut up. Of course, that applies not only to Old Testament Israel but also the New Testament Church. Praise God that He has so much compassion upon His repentant people, but may we truly be repentant!

We’ll see it in three sections of our text:

1. The quiet years with the minor judges (10:1-5).

2. The sinful years of idolatry (10:6-16).

3. The new opportunity with a new leader (10:17-11:11).

Sadly, God’s people sin and sin often. Even with our gracious forgiving God, may we never take His grace for granted, but may we confess and repent in fruitful sincerity!

Judges 10

– The quiet years (10:1-5).

1 After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in the mountains of Ephraim. 2 He judged Israel twenty-three years; and he died and was buried in Shamir.

A. “Tola” = either “worm” or “scarlet.” Common name in the tribe of Issachar.

B. Interesting that Tola was of Issachar but lived in Ephraim. We do not have enough information to draw any conclusions about it but it is notable that he lived outside of what should have been his normal tribal area.

C. What did he do? We don’t know. We do know that he “arose to save Israel.” But that begs the question: save Israel from what / from whom? God gave this man as a deliverer but we do not read in Chapter 10 of any foreign enemy from whom Israel required deliverance. This seems to point us back to Chapter 9. Remember, Israel’s last oppressor was not foreign but domestic. Tola was raised for Israel as a deliverer from Israel…or more precisely, from the usurper of Israel. Abimelech was a violent man, a murderer willing to burn women and children to the death. He was as evil as any foreign oppressor who came against Israel.

a. Sometimes we need salvation from ourselves! We can be our own worst enemies.

D. Overall, the years seem to have been relatively quiet. For 23 years Tola judged Israel and virtually nothing is recorded. Nothing good…but certainly nothing bad. Again we need to be careful jumping to conclusions. Just because the Bible records little of Tola does not mean that he was unimportant or insignificant. It just means that the Bible is silent.

a. The Bible is silent on a great number of saints. Our names may not be recorded in any book of history but they are recorded in the Book of Life!

3 After him arose Jair, a Gileadite; and he judged Israel twenty-two years. 4 Now he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys; they also had thirty towns, which are called “Havoth Jair” to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. 5 And Jair died and was buried in Camon.

A. This man also had a common name among Israel, though it seems to have been one he personally promoted. (“Havoth Jair” = “tent villages of Jair.”) His tribe is not identified, with the text only saying he was “a Gileadite,” which is to say that he dwelled on the Transjordan side of the Promised Land. Quite often this was a reference to East Manasseh, though the text at this point does not specify.

B. What we do know is that Jair set up his sons as a kind of ruling class or family. Nothing is written of him that he saved or delivered Israel from anyone; rather that he only “judged” Israel implying a position of civic leadership rather than a military one. He and his sons led the countryside across the Transjordan for 22 years. What was their relationship with God? Did they even have a relationship with God? Nothing is said or known. Again, it is impossible to conclude one way or the other and we need to be careful of our assumptions.

Put these two judges together, and Israel had some good decades. Some scholars believe that the two judgeships of these men overlapped, although it is just as possible that they were consecutive reigns (implied by the “after him” in verse 3). Either way, these were good years, quiet years in the life of Israel. No enemy is mentioned and no battle is fought. Yet the quiet seemed to be itself a stumbling block for Israel as they didn’t use their time wisely (as will be seen in the next section).

Maybe you’re going through a quiet time right now. What are you doing with it? We can (and should!) praise God for the peaceful seasons of our lives. After all, spiritual battle is stressful and we need the occasional breather! But even those quiet seasons can be productive seasons. In athletics, the off-season isn’t a time to get fat and lazy; it is time to recover, work on fundamentals, and plan for what lies ahead. When we have spiritual “down” time, we need to use it for the same! Yes, recover…but work on those fundamentals of prayer, worship, and study – think ahead to plans that God might have for your future. We can recover yet still stay engaged. When we don’t, that is when we get into danger.

– The sinful years (10:6-18)

6 Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him. 7 So the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the people of Ammon. 8 From that year they harassed and oppressed the children of Israel for eighteen years—all the children of Israel who were on the other side of the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, in Gilead. 9 Moreover the people of Ammon crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah also, against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.

A. Before we look at the details, take a step back and look at the context. If Tola and Jair did have consecutive terms as judges, it adds to 45 years of relative peace and quiet. The question needs to be asked: How far into those 45 years did the people of Israel wait before they began their descent into idolatry? How much time of their quiet did they actually spend in the quiet (but sincere) worship of God? Did they have any time of true worship?

a. The human heart is a depraved thing! We can be given the world on a platter and still want what we don’t have. In fact, that was precisely the situation with Adam and Eve. They had everything anyone could possibly ask for. Yet the one thing God forbade them to eat, that was what they desired and that was what they ate. And the consequences that came from it came as a flood! We are little different today. Our hearts are deceitful and wicked (Jer 17:9), never satisfied with what is good, always seeking out what is sinful. Who can save us from ourselves? None but Jesus! Praise God that He transforms our hearts! Though we still struggle with our sinful flesh, we have been given new lives and new hope in Christ. But it underscores how utterly dependent on Him. Should we but relax and let down our guard, we would (just like Israel) go straight back to the sins of our past.

B. And sin, they did. It was as if Israel surveyed all the various gods of the land and decided to serve every god except the true God. All of the peoples who they were supposed to conquer (specifically to bring God’s judgment upon them and to eliminate the potential temptation of their idolatrous ways) were the peoples they emulated. They took on the worship practices of all the local pagans. These were gods worshipped through sexual fornication, through child sacrifice, and through multiple kinds of evil. And who worshipped them? The Israelites! They engaged in exactly the same behaviors for which God had judged the original inhabitants of the land. The people of God (supposedly) acted as pagans against God.

C. It is no wonder that “the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel.” How could it be otherwise? God had hotly judged other nations for less than what Israel had done. The Gentiles may have done it longer, but Israel seemed to compress it altogether. It was as if they looked for as ways to practice as much idolatry as possible and do it all at once. Thus, because Israel “forsook” God, God did the same with them. He gave them (or, per the text “sold them” as if they were slaves) into the hands of their enemies to the east and to the west (the Ammonites and the Philistines, respectively). Normally, God raised up judges to redeem/deliver His people out of slavery. This time, He specifically gave/sold them into slavery. And why not? They already prostituted themselves out as slaves to the gods of the pagans. Why not give them over to the hands of the pagans themselves?

D. For 18 long years this oppression took place, all the while the people of Ammon pressing farther and farther into the land of Israel. Ammon was an eastern kingdom, a people on the Transjordan side. It makes sense that Ammon would first oppress those in Gilead, but it didn’t stop there. They “crossed over the Jordan” to go against Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim as well. The picture is that of the entire nation being oppressed for long years on end. Why? In a word: sin. Sin that is unchecked by God’s people will be checked by God Himself. (With Israel and with us!)

10 And the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, “We have sinned against You, because we have both forsaken our God and served the Baals!”

A. Finally, confession! It took 18 years but eventually the Israelites had their moment of clarity when they realized their position as the prodigal son in the pigpen. They looked around and realized that the suffering they experienced was needless, brought about by their own sinful stupidity. That was when they turned to the Lord, called their sin what it was and confessed their two evils.

B. Evil #1: they forsook God. They had a golden opportunity to serve YHWH God of their covenant and they despised it. Like Esau selling his birthright for a bowl of lentil chili, so did Israel despise their relationship with God and turn away. They denied the God who loved them and redeemed them. They abandoned the God who had adopted them as His own.

C. Evil #2: they served false gods, the Baals. Bad enough that they turned away from YHWH God, yet far worse to serve the imaginary false gods of their pagan enemies. Israel turned away from the truth to purposefully serve the lie. It would be like leaving a real, regular paycheck to choose to get paid in Monopoly money: utterly ridiculous. To know the truth, yet abandon it to intentionally choose a lie? This is an insult to the nth degree!

a. Be careful not to point the finger too quick at Israel. If it is bad for ancient Israel to abandon God for lies, how much worse it is when born-again believing Christians turn aside from Christ to serve the false things of this world? We do know the truth – so much so that we have real relationship with the God who IS the truth. To shut our eyes to Him that we can run to the world is insanity. Yet it is sadly common insanity.

b. This is exactly our need for confession! Israel finally woke up to their sin and confessed it to God; so can we. When we get to the end of ourselves and see our surrounding pigsty, as terrible as it is, it is the perfect opportunity for us to confess our despair and sin to God and ask for His forgiveness in Jesus!

11 So the LORD said to the children of Israel, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites and from the people of Ammon and from the Philistines? 12 Also the Sidonians and Amalekites and Maonites oppressed you; and you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand. 13 Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more. 14 “Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.”

A. How exactly this response came from the Lord to Israel is uncertain. There is no prophet of God mentioned at the time. Perhaps this was a word of God that came through the priest serving at the tabernacle. However it was given, it was certain that the Lord God gave it.

B. It was also certainly disappointing and shocking in the ears of the people when it came. They cried out in confession, yet God seemingly responds in coldness. It shouldn’t have been surprising. For decades, God had consistently delivered the people while the people consistently sinned against Him. No matter how many times God delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, Israel always went back to their sins and their false gods. There was perfect symmetry between the two: seven nations from which Israel was delivered and seven false gods that Israel served. It was a one-for-one failure rate for Israel. No wonder God gave them over to their sins. If they wanted to serve those false gods so badly, then Israel should cry out to those same gods for help. Why should YHWH God continually deliver a people who consistently rejects Him?

a. Why should He, indeed? There comes a point when God gives people over to the consequences of their own sinful choices. Paul describes a cycle of such tragedy in Romans 1, where mankind continually sins and God gives them over to the next level of sin. The same thing happens with individual people. The more someone chooses to reject God, the more the person’s heart is hardened against God, and the more likely it is that God hardens that person’s heart (just like what happened with Pharaoh). If someone chooses to reject Jesus, Jesus will respect that choice and allow that person to live with the eternal consequences of that rejection.

b. The key is not to reject Jesus! Don’t harden your heart to His voice. When you know God calls you to repent, do it and do it immediately!

15 And the children of Israel said to the LORD, “We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray.” 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD. …

A. Israel repeated their confession, showing true sorrow and contrition. They did not shy away from the description of “sin.” They didn’t downplay it (as we so often do), saying that “We messed up… We made a mistake… We got distracted… We stumbled a bit…” What did Israel say? “We have sinned!” Sin is sin, and we need to be willing to call it what it is. We need to understand the true sinfulness of our sin (along with the true righteousness of God) if we are to turn away from it.

B. And that was what Israel did. More than acknowledging their sin, they acknowledged God’s right to act however He wished. Whatever judgment God determined, that judgment was right. Granted, they cried out and begged for His deliverance. But in the end, only God can determine what is right and wrong. God knows what is just. Whatever it is man might do, far better to be in the hands of God, appealing to His mercy.

a. Are we willing to place ourselves fully in the hands of God? Sometimes the hands of a doctor might initially cause great damage but bring great healing. It is undoubtedly a traumatic thing for a man to have his chest split open…but if it leads to a successful artery bypass and healing, then it is a good thing. Sometimes, placing ourselves in the hands of God for discipline is harsh and hard, but there is no doubt that for those who are His children, His healing comes on the heels of His discipline. Our God is a good God, even as He is a just God.

C. Finally, the reality of Israel’s repentance was seen in their actions. They demonstrated fruits of repentance. They spoke words of sorrow, but did more than speak; they “put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD.” They turned away from their sin and turned back to God. Earlier, they forsook God. Now, they forsook their forsaking, falling upon the mercies and compassion of God.

… And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.

A. The wording here is so interesting in that it uses the language of impatience. Although we might easily say that God earlier lost His patience with Israel’s continued sin, now things have changed. This time, God became impatient/short with their “misery.” He loved His people so much that He could not stand to see them in distress. Though they deserved destruction, God would not give it out of His love for His people. (Praise God for His abounding mercies and everlasting love in Christ Jesus!)

The nation had wandered into terrible sin! And not just “wandered,” but ran, played, and rolled around in repeated unrepentant sin for decades. They abandoned God and it was not until they began to experience the full consequences of their actions did they see their need to repent. Thankfully, God received their repentance, demonstrating His wonderful mercy.

How have you wandered from (or more precisely, sinned against) God? From what do you need to repent? We have a tendency of repeating this same cycle with similar consequences. You don’t need to experience them! The sooner we repent, the better! The more we sincerely throw ourselves on the mercies of God in Christ Jesus, the sooner we too will experience His mercies.

Thankfully, the people had begun finding their way back from their wandering as they turned to God in true repentance. What they had done spiritually with Him, they would illustrate practically with someone else: the new leader raised up by God for the nation for that moment.

17 Then the people of Ammon gathered together and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled together and encamped in Mizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, “Who is the man who will begin the fight against the people of Ammon? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

A. Remember it was the 18 years of oppression by the Ammonites that caused Israel to finally confess and truly repent toward God. With God’s renewed compassion for His people, He needed to set the stage for their deliverance and (for the time) that meant a coming battle. The various armies begin to gather together, preparing to fight. But there was a problem: Israel had no commander. At this point, they had no judge – no military leader in Israel. God would have to provide them one…and He would do so from a most unexpected source.

Judges 11

– The new opportunity (11:1-11).

1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah. 2 Gilead’s wife bore sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, “You shall have no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him.

A. Jephthah was a warrior but one with a poor pedigree. He was known as a “mighty man of valor,” but he was also known as an illegitimate child, the “son of a harlot.” If he had been born of an unloved wife of his father, he would have had rights. If he had been born of a concubine of his father, he would have had at least some respectability. As it was, he was openly despised by his brothers and the rest of his countrymen. It wasn’t right, but it wasn’t unusual for the culture either. Ultimately, he was rejected by his brothers and forced to live in exile.

a. It is not too unlike how Jesus was rejected by His own nation of Israel. People dogged Him with rumors surrounding His birth and although He came into His own, His own did not receive Him.

B. In Jephthah’s exile from Gilead, he dwelt in (what most scholars believe) was Syria “in the land of Tob.” Ironically, the Hebrew word tob/tov means “good.” Why was it ironic? Notice who was with him: “Worthless men.” Those were the only ones willing to be in the presence of a harlot’s son and true to their character, they did bad things. Although the text is not explicit (notice the italics), the inference is that the group went out raiding together. It makes sense…if you’re a warrior, you’re going to find some way to use your skills of war. There will be battles and raids, whether done for good reasons or evil ones.

The whole picture is of a rather unsavory character. This isn’t the kind of guy one would normally seek out as a national leader. Desperate times, however, call out for desperate measures…

4 It came to pass after a time that the people of Ammon made war against Israel. 5 And so it was, when the people of Ammon made war against Israel, that the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 Then they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our commander, that we may fight against the people of Ammon.”

A. The “war” described is likely the battlefield division seen at the end of Chapter 10. At this point, Israel understood that they had no qualified man among them to lead them (which itself was a poor indictment of the nation), so they put their heads together to try to imagine who might have the skills to lead them to battle. Their conclusion? The rejected bastard Gileadite son Jephthah who lived as a raider and outlaw. Scripture never specifies whom Jephthah conducted raids against (unlikely it was Israel), but this was a man always on the run from someone. This was a man who lived by the sword.

B. He was a man of war; was he a man of faith? At this point in his life, we don’t know. At this point in the story we are not even given any assurance that Jephthah was raised up by God. For all we know, this guy was simply chosen by a committee who was trying to brainstorm names of men who might not get them all killed. Yet what do we know about God’s sovereignty? God always reigns – He is always in control. Nothing we do surprises Him, nor is anything we do unable to be used by God in His plans. And God had a plan for Jephthah…perhaps in a way that Jephthah himself did not even know. Soon, this man would be a man of faith, even to be included in the famed “hall of faith” in the book of Hebrews (Hb 11:32).

a. What we don’t know, God does. The people we might not ever imagined can be used for God’s glory are sometimes the very people that God chooses. That is very good news for some of us: it means that God can even use people like us! For as surprised as we might be by some of the people God chooses, we can be sure they are just as surprised at God’s choice of us!

7 So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?”

A. If this sounds familiar, it should. After all, this was exactly what Israel did with God. Just like Jephthah was rejected by his brothers, so was God rejected by His people. Just like his brothers (or countrymen) eventually turned back to Jephthah for help, so did the Israelites turn back to God in confession. And just like Jephthah was less-than inclined to help them, so it seemed that God was ready to turn His people over to their sin. Israel was getting a very practical lesson in true repentance. What they expressed to God on a spiritual level, they now needed to practice person-to-person. It was one thing for them to humble themselves in prayer; it was quite another thing for them to humble themselves to fellow Israelite whom they had to look in the eye.

a. If we think about it, it ought to be the reverse. It ought to be a weightier thing for us to humble ourselves before God than before one another. But it often isn’t. We might expect to assume some posture of humility before God…even while we keep some inner part of our heart in rebellion. But when we have to look at someone in the eye or talk to them directly, it is a hard thing to be humble and truly repentant. That kind of humility is what we need with our heavenly Father! We need to feel it in our gut and do more than mouth some words; we need to be sincere. Sometimes it takes hard, practical lessons with one another for us to learn it.

8 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That is why we have turned again to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the people of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

A. If the first part of the outreach of the elders of Gilead to Jephthah showed their humility, the second part showed their true repentance. In fact, the Hebrew word for “turned again” is sometimes translated “repentance” in the Bible, indicating a true change of mind as well as a change of direction. Additionally, the elders of Gilead had fruit/action to back up their words. They offered Jephthah not only military command but national (or at least, tribal) leadership. This is seen in the two different words of “commander” (vs. 6) and “head” (vs. 8). The elders of Gilead upped the ante and offer. They were looking for more than a temporary general that they could hire/fire; they were truly submitting themselves into the hand of Jephthah as their judge.

9 So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the LORD delivers them to me, shall I be your head?” 10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The LORD will be a witness between us, if we do not do according to your words.” 11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD in Mizpah.

A. The confirmation from Jephthah ought to be expected. Israel was a fickle people, after all! They ended up swearing a divine oath, the agreement was struck, and Jephthah confirmed it all in the name of YHWH God, even repeating the commitment before the Lord in a solemn ceremony, showing God as a personal witness.

B. The point? This was a big deal! Gilead submitting itself under the leadership of Jephthah was not something to be taken lightly – it wasn’t a ho-hum “pie crust” promise. Rather, it was true commitment, something done in the presence of, and according to the righteous character of God Himself.

a. This is what real repentance is. It isn’t a ho-hum, off-the-cuff “I’m sorry” with no real thought given to it. If we are not truly surrendering ourselves anew to the Holy God then we have not truly repented. Again, repentance involves not only contrition in our hearts, but a change of mind in the way we think about things and a change of action/direction in the way we do things. It is giving ourselves into the hands of Jesus, knowing that He is God and that He is worthy of our full obedience.

Jephthah put the people to the test. Had they really repented? How far were they willing to go to show it?

Have we? At some point, we need to put our money where our mouth is. We need to act according to the sorrow we claim to have, recommitting ourselves to Christ giving Him whatever it is we need to give Him in the moment. Maybe it is following His command to seek reconciliation with our brother or sister. Maybe it is restoring something that we’ve taken. Maybe it is public repentance for public sin. Whatever it is the word of God says about our situation, that we need to do.

Conclusion:

Israel’s story is our story. As New Testament Christians, we go along our way doing what we do. Things seem quiet for a while…until we wander. And when we wander, we wander bad. Soon, we find ourselves doing the things we swore we’d never do, falling right back into the same sins from which we were saved. Is God patient with us? Yes, incredibly so. But even God’s patience has a limit. If we continue in that unwavering sin, at some point God acts, turning us over to our consequences. He loves us too much to see us continue in destructive paths and He will not hesitate to bring hard, but loving discipline into our lives.

At that point, we have a choice: we can either block out the leading of God and conviction of the Holy Spirit, or we can humbly submit ourselves to His hand and bring forth true fruits of repentance. Need it be said? Repent! Do not wait – do not hesitate. That which God brings to your mind – the actions of which God reveals to your heart – confess those things to Him in truth and surrender yourself anew to our Lord Jesus.

And the promise we have as the Church is so much clearer than what was had by ancient Israel. We have the written guarantee of God’s forgiveness: 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Never forget to whom that promise was written: born-again believing Christians. That promise is to you. Avail yourself of it! Confess your sins to God in Christ, turning away from them, and turning back to Christ in humility and worship.

The promise was written to Christians but the invitation is open to all. Anyone can become a Christian…and it takes exactly the same steps. Confess your sins to God, agreeing with Him that you have rebelled against Him. Humble yourself before Jesus in faith, believing Him to be God in the flesh who died for you at the cross and risen from the grave. Surrender yourself to Him, asking Jesus to be your Lord and Savior.

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