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Returning to God

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Scripture declares that all humanity has turned away from God, and must return to him. The term “repentance” is often used to refer to this process of returning to God and the inward and outward changes that it demands of people. Scripture also indicates that believers can wander away from God; they too must return to him.

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All people have turned away from God

Isaiah 53:6 NASB95
All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
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Wayward people must return to God

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Means of returning to God

Realisation of estrangement from God

Lamentations 3:40 NASB95
Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the Lord.
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Acknowledgment of sin

Psalm 51:3 NASB95
For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.
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Sorrow for sin

Psalm 38:18 NASB95
For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.
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A sense of guilt for sin

2 Samuel 24:10 NASB95
Now David’s heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”
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Repentance

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A parable of returning to God

Luke 15:11–24 NASB95
And He said, “A man had two sons. “The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. “And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. “Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. “So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. “And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.” ’ “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

Examples of people returning to God

Israelites:

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David; the people of Nineveh
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