Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jonah 3:9

Who can tell if God will turn and relent,
and turn away from His fierce anger,
so that we may not perish?

I had always thought this was a "contritionism" (i.e. a belief that God forgives me because I'm sorry) and it didn't make sense to me. The Ninevite king was brought to repentance and called upon his people to repent and turn from their evil ways. "And maybe God will decide not to zot us after all??"

But in Bible class today Pastor pointed out that this wasn't so much an attempt to manipulate God by making a nice sorry-face and sorry-words. This was more like when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego declared that their God was able to save them from the fiery furnace, but that even if He didn't, they still would worship the true God and not bow down to Nebuchnezzar's idol (Daniel 3:17). Or like when Job told his pietistic friends, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (3:15).

What matters is that we do not perish eternally. God may choose to spare us on earth from cancer or war or poverty. But whether or not He spares us temporally, He will without doubt not permit us to perish forever.

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