THE REPENTING OF GOD

BY:  ROMEO CORSINI

PARTS 1-2

PARTS

TITLE

PAGE

1

NO TITLE

1

2

NO TITLE

2

 

PART ONE

In the earthly realm it is said, and rightly so, that death is better than life in a prison. So it should be. Yet in the kingdom of God, I would gladly submit myself to being a prisoner of God than to have this earthly life of death and blindness, of unsurety and indecisiveness, of war between knowledge and preference, of superstitions that amount to nothing more than empty, vain, and useless attempts at filling this death-life with flesh. In my search to know more of God, to understand why He leaves me yet here, after having saved or delivered me unto Himself, to wrestle with daily struggles against the flesh with the spirit, I have found a yearning to be under His subjection. I have found a wailing cry, calling unto Him to let me be controlled by Him that I might be spared the responsibility of falling victim to the whims of this body of death. I have found a constant need of protection from even my own condemnation. Ever present is the reminder that nothing that I think or do escapes the eyes and ears of the One who loves me. I have found the mercies of God.

The need to be forgiven is constant in the flesh; but the Spirit knows the truth of God’s ultimate and final victory over sin, over judgment. There is no more price to pay; there is only a revelation to seek, an answer to find. Do I still have to invent a payment for the daily sins that trap me? And if I still need to say, “Lord, forgive me,” do I still wait for consequences as they do who dread God? Did God, from the beginning, determine that, in creating me, He would succeed in having me live in His grace forever? Did He succeed? Or has He ever changed His mind?

A good brother in the Lord lately has told me that he was utterly convinced that, since God is sovereign (his interpretation for that word is that God can do anything He pleases therefore…), God can change His mind. This man proceeded to sight passages in the Word where it refers to God’s repenting of one thing or another.

There is a difference between one changing his mind about a judgment and one forgiving. In Exodus 32:14 we read: “And the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people.” God is not a man that He should change His mind. God had declared that, because the people had corrupted themselves, He would smite them; but Moses prayed on their behalf, entreating the Lord not to punish them, saying: “Turn from thy burning anger and change thy mind about doing harm to Thy people.” (Exodus 32:12 NAS) What is the difference between asking someone to change his mind about a punishment and asking that person to forgive? Jesus declared the same thing when He cried out unto the Father His empathy: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” God forgives; He does not change His mind. Does He ever make a mistake that He should stop in midstream and re-assess His thinking? What chaos there would then be in life and the world! The prayers of Moses on his brothers’ and sisters’ behalf were answered by the Lord with forgiveness.

In Jonah 3:10 can be read a similar situation, except that the people repent and pray for themselves. “‘But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent, and withdraw His burning anger so that we shall not perish? When God saw their deeds that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.” (Jonah 3:8-10) Whereupon, Jonah thought himself to have good reason to be angry since it was God who had told him to inform the people of the calamity that God was going to bring upon them. He had originally run from God’s command to do so because he knew God was a forgiving God and it would have been pointless to preach to the people. (Jonah 3:2) “But it greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, ‘Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore, in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.” O, how much I can see of God’s mercy unto me when I think, that I, too, by accepting the message of His Son and the messenger himself, receive that mercy and forgiveness. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? (Romans 10:14-15)

It is the Father whom we seek and Jesus who was sent to speak of Him we might know the Father to believe in Him. “I say, then,” continues Paul, “hath God cast away His people? God forbid…God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew.” (Romans 11:1-2) Again, he continues in chapter 11:25 of Romans: “….this partial blindness has come upon Israel only until the Gentiles have been admitted in full strength.” (N.E.B)

The wickedness of a man’s heart is measured by the degree of his forgiveness of his enemies. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Shall not our most righteous God abide by His own word? Let God be true and every man a liar! (Rom. 3:4)

Yet do I see and hear the very opposite from some of my own brethren in the faith. They claim that there is a limit to God’s forgiveness by introducing that “ultimate” test of eternal damnation… “Can Hitler be saved?”! Or it may be some other scheme concocted in their limited forgiving minds… or should I say hearts… such as “the heathen who reject Christ.” In what instant did God the Father change His mind about saving the entire creation? Was it before Christ died or after Christ died? Let us be aware that God has never lost sight of who we are to Him from the time His love willed us into being. It is man who has determined what God is or isn’t to man! And of the heathen… are we not told that they are dead? In Luke 9:60 Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” …. And again that they are blind? Matthew 15:14 says, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” So then when we consider the issue of God’s love towards all, God’s reconciliation of all things, God’s ultimate salvation of all His creation, we must remember that we do not see as He sees, we cannot understand as He can, nor can we love as He loves. Isaiah 55:8-9 reads, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Is God not to have compassion on those He has Himself called dead and blind? How can a dead man become alive or a blind man see by his own efforts? Jonah 4:10-11 reads, “Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six-score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” Ps. 36:6 shows us that God preserves man and beast.

When we consider that the right hand is symbolic of faithfulness, honesty, and power and the left hand is symbolic of error, distrust, and wrong thinking, the Ninevites, then, represent all those who are dead and blind, who do not know how to discern the Spirit of God. Clearly a blind man who is born blind cannot be expected to judge what is eternal. I Corinthians 2:11 & 14 reads, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him: even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God…. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” I Samuel 15:29 “And also the strength of Israel will not lie or repent: for He is not a man that He should repent.”

Let it be, then, O Lord, that you do WILL that all men be your children that all your creation be included in the deliverance championed by your son, Jesus. Let it stand that you are perfect in your righteousness and judgment that your decisions are without fault. If your will be a prison, let me be a prisoner of your will that I might be protected from the death of my flesh. (Job 23:13, Malachi 3:6, Jonah 3:10).

PART TWO

Why is it so important to some believers that God exact vengeance on His enemies? I have heard many through the years declare that they are not concerned about those who reject them when they preach the gospel to them because in the end they will be condemned, that God will judge them to be unworthy of eternal life. It burdens me to hear such talk from ones who have tasted the great mercy of God, without whose free gift they themselves would know nothing to believe in. After all, unless it is God who reveals Himself to you, what?  Do you think yourself magician enough to come up with the concept of God on your own? From the pit of “hell” Jonah cried out his understanding (Job 2:9) “Salvation is from the Lord.” If it were not God to lift him out of the pit, he would still be there, Jonah said. And this came from a man who knew God and was running from God’s presence. (Job 1:10) How much less does the unregenerate man know or understand God!

Psalm 111:10 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”… Again, a dichotomy. Here I am in need of being wise for the purpose of fearing the Lord yet I must wait on the Lord to make me so. And until He does, the aforementioned “many” would condemn me to eternal torment because I would not be wise enough to know to accept what they would be preaching to me.

Jonah 4:11 says, “And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand…?) How great is the mercy of God! That He should underscore that he “who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required;” (Luke 12:47-48)

“And He also told this parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer. The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, “God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.” But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.'” (Luke 18:9-14)

These two men were both Jews, for both were in the temple, praying to the same God. Yet, one was repenting and I know that it is the kindness of God that leads one to repentance. (Rom 2:4) For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Matt 9:13) They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick. (Mark 2:17) The Pharisee in the above mentioned parable considered himself well; therefore, he ought to have been more caring about the ‘sick’ ones he was condemning in his addressing of God. Christ, having come and having crucified sin with Himself, rendered all people subject to Him, not just the Jews. (What is man that thou art mindful of him? Ps. 8:4) Indeed, He made all men covered by His blood. While we were yet sinners He died for us. We were worthy while sinners that Christ should deliver us from the bondage of sin. (There is none righteous, not even one. Rom 3:10) Grace has revealed it unto us. Have we any right to condemn those who have not received the revelation from God or who have not the discernment to know the goodness of God? How will they know the goodness of God if you who are enlightened declare as the Pharisee declared: I am glad I’m not like any of them! I am righteous! (Any righteousness we esteem for ourselves is as filthy rags. How can anyone take credit for any of it, but Christ?) Paul wrote to the Thessalonians to instruct them “that each of you know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; (I Thes 4:5) This is evidence that those who know God are the ones with the responsibility to live after His nature. Those who do not know God and live instinctively the things of the Law are a law unto themselves. They will be judged accordingly. (Rom 2) This does not entitle anyone else to make judgments about the eternity of the rest. No one but Christ died the perfect death; therefore the right to judge any man is no one’s but God’s. And I am certain that the death that Christ died was not as a risk but as a certainty. God would be poor at His perfection if He did anything without a plan but only on a whim. And He would be a failure to us all if in His plan, envisioned long before the foundation of the world, He did not include all of creation (…God our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved AND! to come to the knowledge of the truth… I Tim 2:4).

God has not changed His mind. From the beginning, He fashioned us out of His love, and, His love being eternal, we were guaranteed by that love that we would always be loved by God. What good would His love be if it did not mean that it was a purposeful plan to make us one with Him that we might share in His glory? If I was not a deliberate and calculated, planned intention, I do not want to have been a gamble. If I am a chance, then I choose to remain with my less ‘lucky’ fellowmen; after all, I am no more worthy than they to be saved. The only way to value the fullness of God’s glory in me is to know that all men are in His will and that I am one with them. This does place an awesome responsibility on us as believers to be identified as children of God by our behavior and our practices. (…but where sin increased, grace abounded even more, that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom 5:20-21) The grace of God, then, abounds for everyone. This is not an “on second thought” for God. This is a calculated plan to keep that which is His. He provided grace for us throughout our growth.

(What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! Rom 6:1-2) That is to say, Are we to be able to sin because grace covers us? God forbid, Paul declares. But it nevertheless is true that grace does cover us and well it should, else the sacrifice of Christ was weak. (And having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Rom 6:18) Responsibility to behave the way that you have become comes with the commitment to being the child of God. One cannot fool God. (Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. Gal 6:7) What qualifies a man for the salvation of God? Is it how holy he is? Is it how little he sins? Is it how righteous he is? It is none of the above. What qualifies you is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, His sacrifice, His perfect sacrifice! And for this perfect sacrifice to take effect on our behalf, must we first accept it before it counts for us? Or is it applied to us directly because of what it is, namely, the propitiation for sin. (For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Rom 3:23)

(And he made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; Acts 17:26-27) Did not Paul declare to the Athenians on Mars Hill when he discovered an empty altar with this inscription beneath it, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD’, “What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.” And he proceeded to tell them about the very God they did not know, that He was their God. “For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His offspring.’ Acts 17:23 and 28)

One scripture that brings into perspective just how we stand with God as His creation, all of us, is Matthew 10:30 “But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” Who is counting? Surely not I! And not you! God is counting. And why should He know the number of the hairs on our head if it is not because He cares? Beloved, if you learn anything about God, learn that He is love and His love wins. Learn that He seeks to reveal Himself to you not so that you can reject Him and thereby receive His wrath; but so that you can know Him. In our relationship with God, He is the faithful one, the forgiving one, the patient one, the strong one, the one who does not give up on His partner. Is there anything too difficult for God? Can there be anyone so stubborn and hard and unrepenting that He can’t win over? His wisdom is infinite. (Psalm 147:5) I shall never give up believing in His infinite mercy, even for my neighbor, for to cease believing that God will win him over is to forsake my own mercy! Glory be to God.

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I WILL listen to you. And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart. And I WILL! be found by you,’ declares the Lord,” Jeremiah 29:11-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE REPENTING OF GOD, Parts 1-2 [Romeo Corsini]          1

 

Pin It on Pinterest