Rend your heart and not your garments.Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate,slow to anger and abounding in love,and he relents from sending calamity.(Joel 2:13, NIV)
If we have sinned by the temptation in the world, God will expect us to repent of it or make us do it by any means. Only repentance is the way to calm His wrath and make Him merciful to us. In Joel 2:3, God commanded us to repent from our heart of what we have sinned to avoid calamity. The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. He wants to bless us rather than send calamity, that is why we need to repent with all our heart.
In verse 13, God said to ‘rend our heart’, not rend our clothes, and turn away from the sin and return to Him. ‘Rend clothes’ means perfunctory repentance just for form without a sincere prayer. We can never move His heart with a slight regret or without turning away from our sin. It is not a real repentance to feel regretful over what we have done but still stay on it. The Lord told to rend our heart. If He allows us to understand our sin, we must genuinely repent of it, mourn over our wrong, weep bitterly and firmly decide not to commit it again. That is the true and spiritual repentance God expects from us. Then, He will leave His fierce wrath and heal and shelter us. He will also restore our all things and bless us with newness in the wounded parts.
We can see the importance of repentance through Judas, who sold Jesus, and Peter, whom Jesus loved the most among his disciples. Judas handed over Jesus to the chief priests and elders in the thirty silver coins, but he felt heavy guilty of it. To return the coins, Judas went back to them and said that he had sinned for he had betrayed the sinless Jesus. He realized what he had sinned. However, his last choice was suicide, not repentance. He might have been saved if he had sought forgiveness by genuinely repenting his sin and wailing to God. However, he chose to commit suicide in the end and did not gain salvation from the eternal fire of hell.
Peter abandoned Jesus like the other disciples on the day Jesus was taken away. He also denied that he knew Jesus when someone testified that he was with Jesus. He even cursed Jesus to justify himself in front of them. It was Peter who promised that he would never leave Jesus even if the other disciples would forsake Jesus. However, he did not do that. Peter could not bear the bitterness as he looked back on himself, who not only denied Jesus but also cursed him. He was heartbroken at the thought of his cowardice and guilt. The more he thought of Jesus, the more he mourned. It was his repentance. When Jesus was resurrected and met Peter again, Jesus did not condemn him. Afterwards, Peter was born again in the Holy Spirit and changed into a different person. His previous cowardice was gone away, and he had been much persecuted because he preached Jesus in the presence of many people. Finally, Peter chose a righteous martyrdom at the end of his life, and he glorified Jesus’ name.
“Repentance is the way of recovery.”
God is the Creator of all things who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and loving to bless us. When we repent, the Lord relents from His wrath and restores what we have lost and gives us blessings and salvation. Repentance is the most necessary and daily work for us living in many temptations and sins. That is the most basic thing to do personally, regionally, and nationally. Then, the Most High God will hear our repentance in heaven and turn from His wrath and heal us. Living in the last days, we must put on the full armor of the Lord and always be victorious in the spiritual warfare and become the light and salt of the world. Also, we must remember the mission Jesus has given to all of us and do our best to lead many people of all nations to the way of salvation.