Jonah Part 5: God Commands Repentance! posted by Yuen Woh Voon on Dec 21, 2011
Jonah preached the judgment of God:
“Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
I think many of our preachers are watering down the gospel instead of preaching the judgment of a holy God on all who refuse to repent of their wicked ways, we mostly promote the benefits of salvation like peace, joy and in some cases, even of financial freedom or prosperity.
In the book of Acts, Paul preached that “in the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30) Look at the verse again. God commands … He does not invite! People can and must be commanded to repent. Preaching the fear of God is very biblical. Maybe human preachers may “invite” people to faith in Christ but God Himself commands. Since we speak on God’s behalf, let’s command people to repent. Eternal destinies are at stake!
Repentance involves a change of heart. But it is not enough just to “repent in the heart.” Jesus says: “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Luke 3:8) When Jonah warned the people of impending judgment, they repented. They expressed their repentance by serious fasting and even their king joined in by issuing a decree that all, including their livestock, must fast. They were really fearful of God’s wrath and prayed that perhaps by their fasting God may relent from destroying them.
The king and people of Nineveh must have been really sincere because Scripture tells us: “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” God saw their works. People aren’t saved by works but by the grace of God. Yet it says that God saw their works. God saw their works of repentance. The people of Nineveh produced the fruit in keeping with repentance. God saw their works of repentance and did not destroy them.
Preacher, command your hearers to repent in order to avoid God’s judgment! Ask them to show the fruit of their repentance. Then, and only then, dare we to hope that God will relent and not destroy us all.