mark this: Isaiah 38:1-2
Did Isaiah the prophet, speaking the Word of God, make a mistake? It might look that way:
In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover." Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. (Isaiah 38:1-2)
But the prophets' pronouncements of judgment were spoken with the understanding that God would love for us to turn the tables!
God has prophets preach judgment so that repentance results. Repentance then removes the necessity for judgment. It is always to be understood that if we repent, He'll relent! (See Jeremiah 18:7-8; Jonah 3:10.)
Hezekiah's tearful, pleading prayer resulted in fifteen years added to his life. God literally turned back the clock!--
"'And this is the sign that the LORD will give you to prove he will do as he promised: I will cause the sun's shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial of Ahaz!'" So the shadow on the sundial moved backward ten steps. (Isaiah 38:7-8)
Wouldn't it be great if we could turn back the clock? If we could start anew and do it right this time?
You can! That's the central prophecy of scripture!
You can turn back to God, just as surely as Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD.
Hezekiah's turning is a picture of what the Bible calls repentance. It's an acknowledgement that you are turning--turning from doing things your way; turning to God's way this time.
Q. What if I turn to God and screw up again tomorrow?
A. When you turn to God's way, that means you have turned to Jesus:
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
If you've never turned from your way to God's Way--Jesus Christ--you can do it today. Then all the judgments pronounced by the prophets have been borne by Jesus Christ, paid in full at the cross.
So God will hold no sin to your account any more--no, not one.
Better yet, He doesn't just take away sin and leave you a blank slate. He also credits you with Jesus' perfect life and sinlessness:
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
And best of all, He sends the Holy Spirit to empower you to live out the life of Christ:
I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not one of those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die. (Galatians 2:19-21)
God hopes with all His heart that you'll turn the tables on the judgments of the prophets. If you do, then you are born again. And He won't just dust you off and give you a new paint job. You'll be--through and through, from the inside out--a whole new you:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This isn't just reformation of the old you, leaving you cleaned up but still powerless against sin and the centripetal forces of self-centeredness.
This isn't reformation at all. We all tried that, and it never worked.
This isn't reformation. This is revolution. This is re-creation. This is resurrection.
This isn't just Happy New Year. This is Happy New You!