BIG IDEA:  God offers forgiveness and restoration to those who genuinely repent.

In the passage we read today, God told Hosea to take back his wife Gomer, whom he previously had to kick out of the house for unrepentant adultery.  She had been taken captive as a slave, and in Pastor Mike’s narrative, we saw her emaciated, neglected, and aged.   When Hosea purchased her with his last penny at an auction, she wept in brokenness, repented of her sin, and praised her husband for his forgiveness.  

God told Hosea to forgive his prostituting wife because He forgave Israel for their idolatry.  This amazing mandate extends to us as well; we are obligated to forgive others because we are the recipients of ridiculously amazing forgiveness.  Even when someone has not repented, we can forgive them because the name of Jesus Christ and the blood of His cross compels us.  If we do not, we will end up with a bitter heart.  After repentance, we are obligated to seek restoration so we can come back together with those we wrong or who wrong us.  Hosea 14:1-3 tells us what genuine repentance looks like.

First, own up to your sin by accepting the blame when it is your fault (14:1).  What do you say when you apologize?  “I’m sorry” allows you to hold some dignity, but “I’m wrong” is incriminating.  If you are not willing to admit your guilt, you are not seeking forgiveness; you just want things to be okay.  Until you admit you are wrong, you will not have full restoration.  

Second, we must kneel down or bow to God’s terms and bend a knee in humility (14:2).   In many cases, when we repent, we try to make it right by proving to God that we are serious about our repentance; perhaps we might pray more, read the Bible more often, go to church more… anything that appeases our conscience.  This is nothing but false worship.  The Israelites did it too; they wanted to worship in their own way by imitating those around them.  They crafted settings, scenery, and songs that “set a mood,” but God wants worship mediated by truth and words that own our sin (vs. 2).  Are your apologies specific or just half-hearted in an attempt to appease the person you wronged?  

Lastly, we must turn away (14:3).  Israel needed to say they would no longer trust in the strength of other nations, their own armies, or the things they made “god” in their lives.  In some ways it’s easy to say we are sorry, but it’s a whole other matter when we verbalize what we did wrong.  Try it some time.  Say, “I’m sorry for… Will you please forgive me?”  The thing you did will probably sound silly once it’s spoken aloud.  Admitting you did it is part of the humility of repentance.  Now take it a step further.  If you have offended someone, don’t ask for an explanation when they tell you they are hurt.  Apologize immediately and ask for forgiveness.  Repent on their terms not on yours.

So what do you need to repent of?  If you’re not sure, finish the following statements: “I will be really happy when…” and “My future will be secure when…”  If God is not part of how you finished those sentences, you are worshiping something you created with your own hands.  You see, repentance does not stop after salvation, it should be in our lives daily.  We should always be turning away from our idols and running to the blood of Christ and the grace of God.  We need this kind of restoration with Him on a daily basis because we are always tempted to call the things we made with our hands “god.”

If you’ve sinned, run to Jesus Christ.  Don’t try to present your good works.  Cling to the free gift of grace.  Remember, we are not saved from hell.  We are saved from our sin.  When you trust Christ as Savior, know you are trusting Christ to save you from that penalty.  Understand why Jesus died for your sin.  Without this, there is no salvation.

Tweetable Quotes:

Every sin that’s ever been committed against you has met its justice on the cross of Jesus Christ; justice has been served. #iamgomer

No matter how far a sinner strays, there’s always a way back home. #iamgomer

We can forgive because the name of Jesus Christ and the blood of His cross compels us. #iamgomer

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