How Long Should We Repent?

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Chuck Hetzler, Ph.D., has a diverse background as a biblical scholar, worship leader, and pastor. He served as Christian Union’s first Teaching Fellow at Princeton University and later directed its ministry in New York City. Chuck earned his Ph.D. in New Testament from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently pastors Bethesda Grace Church in Manhattan.

These devotionals by Christian Union Day and Night have been uniquely marked by a call for repentance and humility in prayer in seeking God's face. And you may be asking yourself, how long do we need to continue to repent? I mean, has God heard our repentance? Is there enough that we've done to humble ourselves, to turn from our wicked ways, to examine ourselves, to seek His face even more? When is enough? How much is enough? I think the answer is: until God turns with blessing towards us. And why do I say that? Two passages I'll share with you.

First is Hosea 10:12 and it says, "Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you." You see the agricultural metaphor here? Hosea says, "Sow righteousness and reap steadfast love." We're not just sowing aimlessly. We're sowing in order to reap something. So you sow righteousness until you reap God's steadfast love. And he goes on, he says, "Break up the fallow ground" — again talking about sowing and reaping, agricultural context — "for it is time to seek the Lord until he comes and rains righteousness upon you." We continue to sow, we continue to break up the fallow ground of our hearts until God comes and rains down His Spirit upon us.

And the second passage that I have to confirm this idea for us — it's in many places in the Bible, but more famously Isaiah 62:6-7 ... those who are the watchmen on the walls, praying for God's purposes...he says, "you who put the Lord to remembrance, take no rest, and give God no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth." This is the Old Testament context and we're applying it to new covenant realities, and so we're saying, "We're praying until he makes His name, the name of Jesus, a praise in the earth." So let's continue to seek God with fervency, with humility, with repentance, until we see the hand of our God turned towards us and pour down His blessings upon us. He will do it if we will continue to seek him. And I pray for you, for all of us, that we will raise ourselves up to seek the Lord, and that we will bring ourselves low — to humble ourselves before Him until He works a great work in our land.

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