Today you should read: Jeremiah 4:1-18
I recently heard a friend of mine use this analogy: “Repentance is like two sides of a coin.”
What he meant was this: if you saw a coin sitting on the ground and George Washington was visible, you’d think it was a quarter. But if you picked it up and flipped it over and saw that it was blank or maybe misprinted, you might think it was a prank coin. Or maybe if you looked closer at it and realized it was the wrong material or consistency, you would believe it was a fake. So how can you know that it is a real quarter? Simple: both sides would be real. You would see President Washington on one side and one of our 50 states on the other. It would be made of precious material, and it could be used for trade or purchases.
For the Christian, repentance is essential, but it has two sides. On the one hand, repentance is when we turn away from our sinful ways. It’s where we leave our old life behind. But that’s not it. You see, there is another side. Genuine repentance must also include forward motion. We turn from sin and run to Christ! We leave our old life and walk in our new one. So how can we tell if a Christian is genuine? You see both sides: a hatred for sin and a love for Jesus.
If this makes sense to you, it may help you grasp the content of Jeremiah 4. God doesn’t simply want Israel to leave behind her idols; He also wants her heart. He wants Israel to pursue Him and embrace what is good. Does that mean hating what is evil? Of course, but that’s not all. The Israelites must draw near to God as they leave behind their empty idolatry. If not, they would end up trading in one form of idolatry for another.
Friends, I have one simple question for you to chew on today in light of this chapter and these concepts:
Are both sides of true repentance evident in your life?
If not, what makes you think you are saved? If it’s just leaving your old life, then your “repentance” might only be behavior modification. Let me put it this way: just because you stopped cussing and partying doesn’t mean you are a true Christ-follower. That’s only one side of the coin. When you left behind your old habits, did you run to Christ? What’s behind you is the one side — your old life. What’s in front of you is the other — your new life in Christ. That’s the mark of a genuine Christian. Leave your sin, love Jesus.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)
Posted by: Todd Thomas