Friday September 23, 2022
Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior,
to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
We saw yesterday that we do not desire to be converted and that we cannot convert ourselves. Our Word today tells us that it is God who gives us repentance, just as He gives the forgiveness of sins.
We are flesh; we love ourselves and feel an aversion to God. We are the bondservants of sin. We cannot therefore change ourselves. But God can change us.
He raises the dead. He sets the prisoners free. He transforms hearts that are of flesh and at enmity with God.
And all this He does by a single word.
He calls the sinner. That means that He calls out to the sinner. The word in the Old Testament which we have translated “to call” means simply to call out to or to call by name.
The call of God consists therefore in this that God calls out to the sinner. Calls out in such a way that the sinner hears and understands that it is me He is calling!
By this word, by this call God gives the sinner repentance.
One day Jesus met a man with a withered hand and said to him, “Stretch forth thy hand!” And the man stretched it forth, although it was so withered that he could not move it. How then could he do it? In this way: With the words of Jesus went the power to do what Jesus asked him to do. Herein lies the grace of the call of God.
It does not of itself occur to anyone to repent. By His call God works upon our mind, our feelings, and our will until we freely choose to repent.
Wherein then does our choice consist? It does not consist in our own decision to tear ourselves loose from sin, to love God and to hate sin. For of ourselves we cannot do any of these things. Our choice consists simply in deciding whether we will hearken to God, who by His Word has begun to transform us, or whether we will close our ears and hearts to Him.