Day 3

God’s Call for Repentance

Joel 2:12-17, Zephaniah 1:7, Romans 5:18-21

BY Raechel Myers

Scripture Reading: Joel 2:12-17, Zephaniah 1:7, Romans 5:18-21

“Repent and believe.”

These are the words Christ uses in the Gospel of Mark to begin His earthly ministry (Mark 1:15). But isn’t it funny how quickly we skate past that first part? Believing is beautiful, but repentance is less glamorous. Yet, right out of the gate, Jesus’ ministry began with a call for us to repent of our sin and believe He came to save us.

If we skip repentance, what do we believe He saves us from?

I spent thirty years hearing the story of the prodigal son one way: a young foolish son squandering his inheritance, only to crawl back home when he had nowhere else to turn. To me, the story was always more about the father. I assumed the lesson here was that I should be as forgiving of foolish people as he was. Years passed, and now when I read that same story, I realize I’m not the father in this scenario. I’m the young fool. The story is as much about repentance as it is about forgiveness.

Scripture tells us the son came to his senses. He found clear eyes to look around and see the mess he’d made, then delivered a simple yet profound confession and repentance to his father: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:21).

Repentance wasn’t easy. The son wasn’t even sure if his father would take him back. But the father received him with open arms as a beloved son.

If Christ calls us to repent and believe, let’s not skip the first step. In doing so, we miss the fullness of the gospel. Let’s listen closely and hear the call to repentance spoken by the prophet Joel on behalf of God Himself:

“Even now—this is the Lᴏʀᴅ’ declaration—turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lᴏʀᴅ your God. For he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, and he relents in sending disaster.”
– Joel 2:12-13

Let’s rend our hearts, like the prophet Joel said. But let’s do so with the confidence that we are returning to a Father who will receive us with open arms and forgive us. He will rejoice over us with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). As my pastor sometimes says, when our repentance is at its deepest, the joy of our salvation is at its highest.  

Post Comments (72)

72 thoughts on "God’s Call for Repentance"

  1. Corina Cast says:

    There’s so much that I’ve excluded Him from…as if he doesn’t know or wasn’t there. When I acknowledge that he saw and knew me at my lowest point, I feel such thankfulness that he still invites me to turn to him with my whole heart, my whole sinful heart because he offers restoration. That sweet justification that leads to eternal life through Jesus.

  2. Missie says:

    Just downloaded this app and this is my first study. So glad to be here!

  3. Mikia M says:

    I loved this reading. And I have to say, I never saw the story of the prodigal son in the way initially described: I always saw myself as the son, but what a perspective change and an opportunity for me understand the story another way! ❤️

  4. nancy smith says:

    The message from times of Jesus’s ministry to the Jews and from the resurrected Christ Jesus is
    repentance -salvation to salvation -repentance. When we come to the truth on resurrection ground we have had our hearts opened by God.Before ,there was an Israel economy of baptism of sin,the forgiveness of sins. God said that all Israel were to be Priests and they had to wash /be baptised .
    Save that to memory when we read the four gospels,they are in fact a continuation of the old testament,and Acts is the transitional book right into the letters of Paul who was given direction from the risen Christ. We come by faith .We are saved by grace,and then what follows is salvation.So point being we can not change until out heart is changed. We can not repent til the heart is opened.

  5. Stephanie Todd says:

    Most have heard the story of the Prodigal Son and while it isnt mentioned in this study, I often wonder what God wanted us to learn from the Older Son. The one who was faithful to his father. Obviously, he had a point to be upset that his father to bring the younger into the fold again. His story isnt emotional, like we feel towards the younger when he returned, it was a joyous time filled with tears and joy and all the aspects of a good story, a tear jerker at the end. But, that doesnt mean that the older son didnt play a part. I would like to know what other’s perspectives are about the older son. what would God have us to learn from him?

    1. nancy smith says:

      The correction I believe is the point. The older brother was corrected. He had jealousy ,and it is so human ,that situation and all. The bible leaves it right there ,we can not even pretend to know if the son
      had a change of heart that I can find anyway. Let me know if you find out ,maybe I missed it.

    2. "Other" Karen says:

      My church Bible study was on Mark last year and we had a long discussion about this story. We discussed that we are either the lost son or the brother, but either way we are sinners in need of repentance and forgiveness. Some of us sin in rebellious, obvious ways. Others have sin in their hearts, going through the motions of obedience, rather than really loving the Father.

    3. Danielle Worley says:

      The younger son was very much aware of his desperate need for the father whereas the older son was not. I often correlate the younger son to many of the outcasts and sinners in the New Testament that Jesus spent his time with and the older son with the Pharisees. He came to save the sick. Although both have sin, because we all fall short, being aware of it and our need for a father to save us makes the difference. When we know we don’t deserve the grace we’ve been given, we appreciate it more.

  6. Courtney Stoops says:

    17 Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers,
    weep between the portico and the altar.
    Let them say:
    “Have pity on your people, Lord,
    and do not make your inheritance a disgrace,
    an object of scorn among the nations.
    Why should it be said among the peoples,
    ‘Where is their God? ’ ”

    Lord, our nation needs you now! Let the USA repent and turn to you, so the nations no longer question who we are serving!

  7. Anita says:

    Such a timely lesson! Repentance is key to receive forgiveness in full measure; but also to be able to truly forgive others. The parable of the prodigal son can be read both ways, we can each place ourselves in the shoes of both the father and the son. Withholding forgiveness from someone who has hurt us only hinders us from fully receiving all the Lord wants us receive from Him.

  8. Ruth says:

    Update from Monday if anyone is reading. I have been offered the job! Now the dreaded salary negotiations….but God is in this, I am really sure. ❤️ Blessing upon blessing to you all reading this.

    1. Debbie says:

      Congratulations Ruth. God is so faithful all the time. Blessings to you x

      1. Ruth says:

        Thank you! Yes, He is faithful. x

    2. truthseeker says:

      Praise God for His blessings upon you and His answering prayers.

      1. Ruth says:

        Thank you! He definitely hears our prayers. x

    3. Liz C says:


      1. Ruth says:

        Thank you Liz. x

    4. Beth says:

      That is wonderful, Ruth! Thanks for letting us know!

      1. Ruth says:

        I am still a bit surprised actually! x

        1. Rosie says:

          At last! Someone with real extrspiee gives us the answer. Thanks!

      2. Jacalyn says:

        Home run! Great slingugg with that answer!

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