Following the word “turn” (שוב) through Jeremiah’s prophecy.
“‘If you will return [שוב], O
declares the LORD, ‘Then you should return [שוב]
to Me. And if you will put away your detested things from My presence, and will
not waver, and you will swear, “As the LORD lives,” in truth, in justice and in
righteousness; then the nations will bless themselves in Him, and in Him they
will glory.’ For thus says the LORD to the men of Israel Judah
and to ,
‘Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise
yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of your heart, men of Judah and
inhabitants of Jerusalem, or else My wrath will go forth like fire and burn
with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds. Declare in Jerusalem Judah and proclaim in , and say, “Blow the trumpet in the
land; cry aloud and say, “Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the fortified
cities.” Lift up a standard toward Jerusalem !
Seek refuge, do not stand still, for I am bringing evil from the north, and
great destruction. A lion has gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations
has set out; he has gone out from his place to make your land a waste. Your
cities will be ruins without inhabitant.’ For this, put on sackcloth, lament
and wail; for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned [שוב] back from us.” (Jeremiah 4:1-8). Zion
God commands that His people be a repentant people, a people who do not mingle the world with Himself. What’s at stake? The Gospel fulfillment of the promise to Abraham:
- “...in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).
- “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU’” (Galatians 3:8).
- “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth’...after these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’” (Revelation 5:9,10; 7:9,10).
“And you will swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’ in truth, in justice and in righteousness; then the nations will bless themselves in Him, and in Him they will glory” (Jeremiah 4:2). This is God’s Gospel promise through a repentant, faithful people. No where in this does the Gospel promise extent to a worldly entertainment or gimmicky strategy for drawing the lost. God attaches a promise of supernaturally successful evangelism to a faithful, holy, and repentant people. The "then" is God's promise.
The only alternative to being a people of circumcised heart is being a people under the wrath of God.
This is how the nations will be blessed by the Gospel, and this is how God will ultimately receive the most glory in their sight.
Repent, Church. This is what the unbelieving world needs.
“Saving repentance is an evangelical grace by which a person who is made to feel, by the Holy Spirit, the manifold evils of his sin, and being given faith in Christ, humbles himself over his sin with godly sorrow, detestation of his sin and self-abhorrency. In such repentance the person also prays for pardon and strength of grace, and has a purpose and endeavor, by supplies of the Spirit’s power, to walk before God and to totally please Him in all things. As repentance is to be continued through the whole course of our lives, on account of the body of death, and the motions of it, it is therefore every man’s duty to repent of his particular known sins particularly. Such is the provision which God has made through Christ in the covenant of grace for the preservation of believers in the way of salvation, that although even the smallest sin deserves damnation, yet there is no sin great enough to bring damnation on those who repent. This makes the constant preaching of repentance necessary” (1689 Baptist Confession, 15.4-6).