In Revelation 2:20, God gives the wicked prophetess and her followers a space of time to repent. What is implied by God waiting for man to repent, rather than initiating that repentance as some believe?
ESV - 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
God both initiates our repentance and waits for it patiently. These two actions are not mutually exclusive. He initiates it by giving us the plenary, inspired word by which we can see our sin and the method by which we can escape eternal punishment. He sent John to preach repentance as a forerunner of Jesus Christ. He sent the prophets to the kingdoms of both Judah and Israel to preach repentance. He waits patiently for us to repent so that He will not have to send us into eternal punishment. Romans 2:4 - "Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" Peter echoes this in 2 Peter 3:9 - "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, bu that all should reach repentance." I don't think anything is implied, it is expressed in the statement that God does not want anyone to die in their sins.
I understand it as a combination. Paul wrote to Timothy to correct in humility those in opposition, if perhaps God will grant them repentance (2 Tim 2:25), but also wrote to Titus that the grace of God bringing salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, that we should live sober, righteous, and godly (Titus 2:11-12). His grace/favor teaches people these things, but they must choose to obey it. He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Repentance literally means 'change of mind' but also includes a 'turning away' from evil and toward good. He can surely impose circumstances, facts, words, to change ones mind, or harden hearts (like Pharaoh), or even send strong delusion so people who love unrighteousness believe lies (2 Thess 2:11-12). But so long as pride remains, God resists the person. Repentance isn't complete unless one humbles himself. This is why it is written that the one who confess AND forsakes sin will have mercy (Prov 28:13). Confession and sorrow are not enough. With a broken and contrite heart, by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, which convicts the world of sin (John 16:8), one is told to repent, turn from all transgression, and get a new heart and spirit (Eze 18:30-31). This is initiated by God. This cleansing certainly cannot occur without God, but it is written that he who has clean hands and a pure heart shall receive blessing and righteousness from the God of his salvation (Ps 24:4-5). This is why John the baptist warns to repent (Matt 3:2), Jesus warns to repent (Luke 13:5), and the apostles warn to repent when asked "what shall we DO" (Acts 2:37-38). We must CHOOSE this day whom we will serve, and DO something. Can you imagine God granting salvation to one who hasn't repented? Although God is patient and is not willing any should perish, but desires all to come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9), we still know because Luke tells us, that the Pharisees & Lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves (Luke 7:30). One must sow for themselves righteousness and reap in mercy, breaking up their fallow ground and seek the LORD until He rains righteousness on them (Hosea 10:12). Jesus said the merciful obtain mercy (Matt 5:7) and we must forgive to be forgiven by our Father in heaven (Matt 6:14-15), and must humble ourselves as a child (Matt 18:4). Again, God can and does "humble" people through events or trials, but they still must receive His word in their mind and heart, and humble themselves. He granted repentance to gentiles (Acts 11:18), commands people to repent (Acts 17:30), His goodness leads it (Rom 2:4), but one must obviously have a godly sorrow that leads to repentance UNTO salvation (2 Cor 7:9-10). One must obey the commands, and follow. We must ask the question: without humbling oneself, obeying God, and following Jesus, why on earth would such a one be granted salvation? And we answer: he wouldn't and he doesn't. God delivers and shows salvation to those who love Him and know His name (Ps 91:14-16). We certainly don't love and know Him before repentance. Hope this helps, God bless! ~Matt
The Bible teaches us that God is waiting for people to repent and believe the Gospel. 2 Pet 3:9 describes a patient God, being not too hasty for the end of the universe, hoping and desiring that all come to repentance. This is not like the selective concept of “limited atonement” that teaches God wills only for the elect to be saved and the rest He wills that they go to hell. God has made salvation available through the preaching of the gospel to all men, and all they need is to respond to that call by their own sovereign free will which God gave them. When they respond they become a part of the elect. It’s not as if God was impotent to deliver people, it’s the fact that He will not transgress the right of choice He has given to us. He let us do this so so we might respond to His invitation, not be compelled by His intent. This is why Jesus said, “I am the door and if anyone enters by Me he shall be saved”! If “anyone” enters through that door they will be saved. This wicked woman in Revelation 2:20 had a time to repent, and no doubt was warned of the serious consequences should she refuse to repent! But the opportunity she had reveals to us that God was waiting for her response, as it is with all whom He calls to repentance. Romans 11:23 shows how God is waiting for the natural born Jews to turn from their unbelief to be reunited Him through Christ and be a part of the Olive Tree, the Church. Instead of pushing them by irresistible grace, He seeks to provoke them to repent by using the Apostle Paul’s ministry to the Gentile Christians. Note the terms Paul uses in Romans 11:23 “And those also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in.” Note that this Scripture places the ‘if ’ in that verse, meaning that the time of their entry depended on them making the decision to believe. Again we see that this is consistent with God giving them a space of time to change their mind and choose to believe. People often quote the scripture John 12:40 to say that God purposely blinds people’s eyes that He does not want to be saved. So let’s look at why He blinded their eyes! Look at these scriptures in Luke 14:16-24, the invited guests made excuses and rejected the invitation sent by the Lord and for that reason He was furious and shut the door in their faces. Luke 7:30, shows us that this rejection was mainly demonstrated by their refusal to accept the call of John the Baptist. They literally rejected God’s plan for their lives by not being baptized by John. Then finally we see Jesus demonstrating His grief because Jerusalem had not heeded the call He had sent them through the prophets and apostles and Himself. As he prayed lamenting in Matthew 23:23-39, Jesus wanted to gather them like a mother chicken gathers her chicks lovingly under her arms, but this Scripture says, “You would not”! God was waiting for them but they refused to come. That’s the Gospel. It is a beautiful, loving invitation to come and all who do come and remain will partake of everlasting life. This portion in Matthew here is the reason why Paul describes the total depravity of every person, Jew and Gentile, that reject the Gospel. They will inherit the judgment of all those who ever rejected God throughout history and by rejecting him they are classified with all the depraved sins mentioned that they never in actuality committed. Matt 23:34-35,"That is why I am sending you prophets, wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will whip in your synagogues and persecute from town to town. As a result, you will be held accountable for all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of the righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar." The rejectors inherit the wrath of God for all the crimes others before them had committed, though they had not literally done.
Our God is loving and awesome. He created us like Him and gave us free will. We are not puppets. We have choice. Romans 3:23 tells us all have sinned. Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death, but that the GIFT of God is eternal life. Romans 1:16 tells us that the GOSPEL is the power of salvation. The GOSPEL is spelled out for us in 1 Corinthians15:1-4. Ephesians 1:13 tells us the sinner who believes is saved. Romans 5:8 we must see our sin. Romans 10:9-13 we must confess (repent if our will) accept(believe) by faith, then like Isaiah 61:10 we will be clothed in righteousness. Saved by Grace. It is a choice open to every human being by our good and loving Holy God!
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.