Tuesday, April 18, 2006

And the Lord relented...

I listened to a Stuart Townsend song yesterday which prayed for God to 'relent'. It really struck me that I had never heard a modern song, or even a prayer, that used that word which to me evokes so many OT passages of God's grace (see ESV search). When I wondered about this I also realised that it was not a word, or even a concept, that is found much in the NT.

I am considering what all this may mean. I have some ideas... does anyone else?


At 11:49 pm, Blogger junior said...


My first thought is of Acts 17:30-31, "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (context)

I'm gonna say that in the past God had relented due to ignorance, but since the resurrection, we are all without excuse.

BTW, Which Townend song was it?

At 8:21 pm, Blogger Dave K said...

This is very embarrassing...

I've just gone over the words of all the songs on the album I was listening to. Plainly my hearing needs testing, and i should check things before blogging them.


I am not sure why Acts 17 comes to mind for you Junior. I think you are saying that for God there is no more relenting to do post-resurrection. It's the last-chance salon.

I will have to think about that idea a bit. I am not sure that in the past God relented mainly because of ignorance, especially as it is a word usually applied to the covenant people who knew better.

I was thinking along the lines that it may be because it carries the feeling of reluctance (on God's part) and temporariness, which following Jesus once-for-all sacrifice is no longer appropriate.

Thinking along a participatory theology line: God has relented once-for-all in-Christ, and if we shelter under his wings we will be forever protected, but if we chose to wait outside we will be left 'desolate' forever too.

The idea of relenting again and again, fits with earlier periods in redemptive history, but the end has already occured (in Christ's death and resurrection) so the idea of cycles of relenting is no longer appropriate. Besides relenting (unlike forgiveness) does not suggest that the problem has been dealt with - but now it has.

...more thinking to do I think.


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