01/04/16 – 370
So Gomer did the only thing she could do. She went home with Hosea, no doubt wondering all the while why in the world he would show her such mercy. Or maybe the better word is ‘grace’. She would be restored to her home and fellowship with her children, which had to be great! Yet for all that, did you notice that her full restoration (forgiveness) was conditional?
Hosea 3:3 Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”
Much too often, we make the grave mistake of talking about God’s ‘free’ gift of forgiveness, or ‘unconditional’ forgiveness. But I have found no such thing in scripture. What I have found is exactly according to Hosea’s example. This is that God’s love is unconditional and free – it never fails and He never withdraws it from us. His forgiveness, however, is another matter entirely.
Gomer’s redemption wasn’t free for Hosea, it cost him not only the price of a slave, but (I’m pretty sure) endless heartache and soul-wrenching pain. In order to start the whole process in the first place, Hosea had to be willing to give up his entire life and will for God’s purpose alone – there would never be room for anything of his own desires. Our redemption was no less costly for Christ, why we should think of what it cost Him and then think it should be free for us I can’t fathom. So what’s the price for us? Jesus Himself told us.
Luke 13:3 “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Repentance – true repentance – is more than just saying you’re sorry. It is feeling real sorrow for your sins, for how they have hurt others, especially the One Who came to pay the price of a slave to redeem you from that auction block and set you free. It involves changing your life, not repeating the same sinful behavior and choices that caused you to be enslaved in the first place. Truthfully, It means giving your life back to the One who created you as a free soul, redeemed you from the slavery of your own wrong choices and set you free again, by giving up His own life for yours – of His own free will!
I am sorry, I know it’s not the popular or politically correct thing to say anymore, but it is the truth as best I can discern it. And, it makes perfect sense to me. Why should Gomer have expected that after all she had done to Hosea and the kids, she should waltz back into their lives as though nothing had ever happened? Try to put yourself in their shoes. Can those relationships and trusts be rebuilt? Yes, but only with a long time and a lot of effort.
Again, it’s no different with God and us. His love has never wavered. He has redeemed us, our sins have been forgiven, but conditionally. The condition is that we accept His gift by accepting Him, not only as our Savior but as the Lord of our life. This is a decision that we often have to make over and over again as we face many temptations. But make it we must, and He has promised always to help us to make the right choice. Let’s make that our prayer for today – that no matter what temptations or choices we may face, He will be with us and help us to choose Him over sin.