REPENTANCE is the ONLY way to get RIGHT with GOD: Then Jeremiah spoke to all the princes and all the people, saying: "The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city with all the words that you have heard. Now therefore, amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; then the Lord will relent concerning the doom that He has pronounced against you." (Jer. 26:12-13)
Jeremiah chapters 26–45 focus on Israel’s place among the nations in that known world. Unlike in the previous instances, the prophet Jeremiah now starts to focus on the response of the people to his messages. Previously Jeremiah had focused on the content of his messages, whereas, starting from this chapter (26), he focuses on the response to his messages. During the past occasions, however, Jeremiah’s various messages were rejected outright by the people in Judah and by those already in captivity in Babylon. The theme of Jeremiah’s messages is clear and consistent: ‘unless the citizens of Jerusalem repent, the mere presence of the temple in their midst will not guarantee their survival’!
The content of Jeremiah’s message was that God would surely judge the people for their disobedience unless they repent (vv. 1–6, 13). If the people refused to obey the Law or to respond to God’s prophets, God would make the temple (“this house”) as desolate as the tabernacle that once stood at Shiloh (see 7:14). So, Jeremiah called the people gathered there and listening to him to amend (or, make good) their evil ways and obey God’s Word that includes the covenant and all the words proclaimed by Jeremiah.
Let us understand that repentance is the only way to get right with God! Repentance requires taking in a whole new point of view, and looking at our situation in God's way. In the words of Grimm-Wilke-Thayer: "Repentance is a change of mind: as it appears in one who repents of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done ... esp. the change of mind of those who have begun to abhor their errors and misdeeds, and have determined to enter upon a better course of life, so that it embraces both a recognition of sin and sorrow for it and hearty amendment, the tokens and effects of which are good deeds..."
Repentance is a change of mind - a decision, a choice, a determination of the heart, a deliberate exercise of the will - in which one determines to act differently in the future than he has in the past. To repent, we must do the following: (1) Hear and believe God's Word (Jonah 3:4-10; Acts 8:22); (2) Acknowledge our sins before God (Ps. 38:18; 51:3; Pro. 28:13); (3) Be sorry for our past wrongdoings (Ps. 51:17; 2 Cor. 7:10); and (4) Stop sinning and begin serving God instead (Deut. 30:2,8,10; Rev. 2:5). Can we examine our hearts today (Ps. 139:23-24), and draw close to God in repentance so that He will have mercy upon us and pardon our sins?