Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, July 10, 2017

How is Your Eyesight?

Our view of God, our view of our own sinfulness (or our own righteousness), and our view of the sinfulness of others all have an effect on how and when we repent.

David had a great view of God’s mercy and unfailing love and a great view of his own sin. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me, against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge” (Psalm 51:1-4).

A simple parable presented by Nathan the prophet broke David into repentance.

Job had a great view of his own righteousness and a great view of God’s injustice to him. "As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made me taste bitterness of soul, as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, and my tongue will utter no deceit. I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live" (Job 27:2-6).

Elihu spoke to Job for five chapters and God for four chapters before Job broke down in repentance. "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6).

Jonah had a great view of God’s graciousness and love and his own hatred for the Assyrians, the Ninevites. "But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the Lord, 'O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live'” (Jonah 4:1-4).

Job did not want God to forgive Nineveh. There is no clue in the text that Jonah ever repented, though God continued to reach out to him.

We know of people who think they are too bad to be forgiven, others who think they are too good and do not need forgiveness, and others who think others are going to hell and should not be forgiven.
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. (Romans 5:20)

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