Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke
Lesson 8 from the Book of Jonah.
“And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey” (Jonah 3:1-3). Jonah had been very rebellious, but he had prayed. His prayer had to have been sincere and convincing. He received forgiveness from the Lord, and was even given his ministry back. Only God could do this, and He would do this only after sincere repentance. Jonah prayed mightily while in the belly of the whale. “Arise, go… and preach …the preaching that I bid thee.” Don’t go back to seminary. Don’t go into isolation for 2 years. Go do the work I sent you to do. The Bible is filled with people who have failed to fully follow the will of God. Peter cursed and swore, denying the Lord Jesus Christ. A few weeks later he was preaching at Pentecost and had revival break out, winning many souls to Christ. Thomas refused to believe the resurrection until he came face to face with Jesus. He was there when the Holy Ghost came from heaven, sitting upon him in mighty fashion. There was the great warrior-king David who sinned with Bathsheba. His sin included not only adultery, but murder. When confronted by Nathan, David confessed to his sin. “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die” (2 Sam. 12:13).
The Lord has been dealing with failures ever since the sin by Adam and Eve in Eden. However, He is not out to kill you, He could do that any time He desires. He wants to save you. He is not out to punish you, but wants to correct you and change you. Not just change your behavior, but change your heart. True repentance like Jonah showed in the whale always leads to mercy. Do like Thomas and fall before Him, crying, “My Lord and my God.” Do like Peter and weep bitterly. Do like David and openly confess your sin. True repentance will lead to a second chance.
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).
This means that Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.