The Door to Safety
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7)
If you have ever seen someone with a placard proclaiming the word ‘Repent’, or listened to a street preacher calling out to passers-by to do the same, you will no doubt have noticed the reaction of most people. There is an obvious embarrassment, an eagerness to look the other way, an urgent need to cross to the other side of the road. Being reminded there might be things in life that we need to repent of leaves most people feeling distinctly uncomfortable.
How sad this is, for the call to repent is one of God’s kindest invitations to us! The word repent originally meant ‘to change one’s mind’ – what we might describe today as ‘doing a U-turn’. It is about recognizing that we have been going about things the wrong way; and the most logical consequence of that is to stop, turn round and start doing things God’s way instead. Repentance is the decision we make that moves us from the wrong way to the right way, from our way to God’s way. In the delightful phrase of J. A. Motyer, ‘Repentance is the door into safety.’
What a wonderful picture that is! If you were in a room full of danger and there, in the corner, stood a door marked ‘way out’, what would you do? Without a moment’s hesitation you would go through the door to escape. In the same way, God’s escape door to safety is his gift of repentance. The trouble is, it is a door that is hard for us, for it requires that we admit we got things wrong – a difficult thing for us humans to do! Yet God promises that those who walk through this door will find him and, with him, life and forgiveness.
Today, as you turn to him, you can find his kindness and goodness once again.
Don’t you know that the reason God is good to you is because he wants you to turn to him? (Romans 2:4, CEV)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont