“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.” Hosea 14:4
Reader, if you turned away from Jesus Christ and are truly sorry that you did, then there is real hope for you. God sees your sorrow and wants to forgive you. You will never have true inner peace unless you return to Jesus. God dealt harshly with His own people (Ephraim) so that they might return to Him, and His chastisements had their desired effects: “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised” (Jer. 31:18).
God may be dealing harshly with you, dear backslider, by sending adverse circumstances your way. Repentant Ephraim went on to say, “Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God” (v. 18). God’s repentant people realized that His grace was needed for complete restoration, and that same grace can also restore you at this very moment. What God said of Ephraim can be said of you: “Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD” (Jer. 31:20). We find Ephraim again in Hosea 14:8, saying, “What have I to do any more with idols?”
True repentance is the forsaking of every known sin; the casting away of all idols. An idol is anything that keeps you from loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Mk. 12:30). God requires that you thus love Him, and it is only by His grace that you can do it. “Touch not the unclean thing” that you have been addicted to and God will receive you (2 Cor. 6:17). “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). God is a jealous God. He will not compete with any idol. You must render to Him wholehearted obedience. “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Ex. 34:14). The spiritual darkness in your soul will vanish if you truly repent and return to Jesus. God will heal your backsliding and love you freely. Pay attention to God’s dealings with you. Don’t deprive yourself of His forgiveness and love.