Christian music

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Repentance, the hope of change!

Repentance is a word that we don’t hear used very much in our society anymore. A school teacher asked her students what repentance meant. One young boy quickly raised his hand and said, “It means being sorry for your sins.”

After hearing that response, another student in the classroom raised her hand and corrected the young boy. She added, “Repentance doesn’t just mean that you are sorry for your sins. It means that you are sorry enough to quit.”

If we are to experience the hope of revival, we must change the direction of our lives by turning around, heading in the other direction and living for God.

Real repentance is NOT just getting caught, changing to please others or to get them off your back, flirting on the edge of sin, nor making cosmetic changes.

Real repentance begins with a change of THINKING.

James 4:8-10—8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

This refers to the man who has such a change of thinking over his condition that he grieves over his sin. God is telling us that if we are ever to turn from our sin, we must begin by seeing our sin from God’s perspective, so much that we are repulsed by what we once indulged in.
Paul speaks of this same attitude when he commends the Corinthian church for the mourning they experienced in dealing with a sinning brother.

2 Corinthians 7:8-9—8 I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. 9 Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way.

When we have not had this change of thinking and have no godly sorrow over our sin, it is immediately evident.

Evidence that our repentance is not genuine. We are angry when others confront us, are unwilling to take steps to change, run away from righteousness, are slow to obey, see our sin as just a little problem, constantly justify behavior by pointing at others, and make shallow/temporary commitments to change.

How do you feel about your sin? Are you aware of it or blissfully unaware? Does it break your heart like it breaks the heart of God? But mourning is not enough by itself. Real repentance is accompanied by a TURNING.

2 Corinthians 7:10-11—10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. 11 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
Notice that the Corinthians’ change of thinking PRODUCED something in them. It produced a “repentance without regrets” and a corresponding change.

What does this mean in connection with genuine repentance? Repentance is not just thinking sorrowfully about our sin. It is being so grieved that we are willing to submit to our Master and CHANGE DIRECTION regarding our sin. The change in THINKING regarding our sin leads to a consistent TURNING from our sin.

Think of repentance in the context of baseball. The ball is pitched in one direction, but as it strikes the bat, it “repents.” It completely changes direction, purpose, and goal!

It completes something totally different than what it was originally set out to do, and achieves an opposite result, one which it was designed to accomplish.

In order experience revival, one must first turn their life around; that complete about-face is what the Bible calls repentance.

The story is told of a famous rabbi who was walking with some of his disciples when one of them asked, "Rabbi, when should a man repent?" The rabbi calmly replied, "You should be sure you repent on the last day of your life."

"But," protested several of his disciples, "we can never be sure which day will be the last day of our life." The famous rabbi smiled and said, "The answer to that problem is very simple. Repent now."

No comments: