Monday, March 31, 2008

Repentance

Yesterday, at church, the pastor preached a sermon on repentance from Jonah 3. It was such a helpful and convicting message for me that I thought I would share it with you! First, he summarized true repentance as being four things:

  1. True repentance involves God’s claim on our life.
  2. True repentance involves an attitude of contrite submission to God.
  3. True repentance involves a turning away from specific sins.
  4. True repentance involves the sure hope of mercy.

Hetold us that it is impossible to repent without first feeling weight and sorrow over our sin. Which caused him to ask us, and this is a question that I have been asking God to answer in me since I heard it—is my sorrow over sin leading me to turn from it? So often I feel guilty about things but do nothing about it. I just let the guilt either eat away at me, or simply ignore it. But God does not ignore it. My sin should make me sorrowful and then rush me to the Cross of Christ for forgiveness. Without his blood I will be judged for my sin.

He then asked three questions that are a sort of heart check with regards to our own repentance. We must always be repenting of our sin, which means we must always be conscious of our sinfulness. He asked:

  • Is there any ongoing sin in my life that I am not repenting of, or actively fighting against?
  • Am I avoiding or inviting temptations? When it comes to sin, every single one of us is holding a bombshell.

What am I doing and why am I doing it? Why do I watch certain television shows? Why do I visit certain sights on the internet? Why do I buy certain things? Why do I say certain things?

He said that as sinners we owe God everything, including repentance. He has created us and we are the created. We have sinned against our creator and owe him repentance, and he owes us judgment. But he does not give us what we deserve. He gives us mercy and hope in the work of Christ on our behalf. “The nature of true repentance, he said, “is saying ‘God, I owe you everything and am so unworthy. You owe me nothing but judgment.” Praise God that he does not give us what we deserve!

I was extremely convicted that my life is not one of active, daily repentance, but rather occasional repentance. But this only reveals my pride, not my lack of sin. The statement that struck me most was “my standing before God is not based on the absence of sin in me, but in the absence of sin in Christ.” This truly is a great salvation!

The messages usually are posted online. So, if you want to listen to it you can visit the website and listen!

3 comments:

Sara said...

Hi Courtney,

With regards to repentance, does it mean that if we commit a sin and don't confess, that God won't forgive us? I've always been confused with this term "repentence" because I thought it applies to when we get saved instead of after. Do I need to confess my sins to God even though he already promises to forgive me of every sin past, present, and future, once I became a Christian? Thank you for your posts, and it's nice to see you posting more often :) :)

cdt said...

Hi Sara,

It's nice to see that you are still a faithful reader even though I am not a faithful blogger. :)

Thank you for your questions, too. As a Christian our lives should consist of continual repentance, not because we are afraid that God won't forgive us, but because we are genuinely sorrowful over it and desire to turn from it. Salvation is an "already, but not yet" reality, one where we are saved from our former life but not completely changed into the new creation that we will be in the final day. That is why we still sin, which is why we still need repentance.

It is true that Christ has paid for all of our sins (past, present, and future), which explains that there still be future sins. Repentance is acknowledging that we have sinned against our creator and deserve nothing--and as redeemed sinners we still sin against him and need to repent and turn from those sins. We should be growing out of the sins that we have been saved from, but when those leave there is a whole crowd of more that we didn't even know were there! We live a life of continual repentance because we are continually aware of our unholiness and desperate need for an advocate (Christ) to make a way for us to be in right relationship before the Father. If we continue in sin without repenting, then we do not have fellowship with the Father. In the same way (but on a much smaller scale), when you sin against your earthly father, if you do not confess your sin to him and ask for his forgiveness there is a void there, even though he will always be your father and will (hopefully) always forgive you. Forgiveness is not contingent on repentance, yet, repentance is evidence of a changed heart to hate sin and love Christ.

Does that help?

Thank you for reading!

debt said...

Great post, Courtney! I John 1 is a great place to start to answer some of the questions people have about believers still sinning. There are those who believe it doesn't matter if we sin because we've been forgiven and God doesn't look at us any differently. He just sees Jesus. While it is true that we are secure in Christ and our salvation, sanctification and glorification rests in Him, it is only in our position, not in practice. For we are not yet sanctified or glorified. The confusion lies in forgiveness and fellowship. I John 1 answers all of those questions. From those who would say that they have no sin or that they have not sinned(mostly said by non-believers) or to those who say that they can have fellowship with God even when they are sinning(mostly said by those who claim to be Christians, as well as non-believers). There is great freedom in a clear conscience before God and man. This is something that is continual, until the day we see Jesus Christ. For when we see Him, we will be like Him. What a great Day!!