In my previous two posts we saw that the difference between David and Saul (in God's eyes) was not the scale or scope of their sin, but the difference between true biblical repentance and worldly remorse. Everybody sins - and that is terrible. But not everybody repents - as we see with Saul. Sure he thought he was repentant, but he was really only sorry for the being busted and the consequences that came from that. Saul reminds me of Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. I always considered the disgraceful aspect of Clinton's behavior was not his immorality (though that was extremely bad). What was disgraceful was his unwillingness to admit to any wrongdoing, his continual self justification, his continual portrayal of himself as a victim, and his continual blaming of right wing conspiracies against him. David, on the other hand, came straight out and confessed his sin and accepted full responsibility.
There are two types of people - sinners who try to cover their sin, and sinners who repent. Which one are you?
Repentance is clearly important to God. The Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, and Jesus Himself all began their ministries with a call to repentance. Jesus made it very clear when He spoke about a natural disaster of His time where eighteen people died. He said that although they did not die because they were more sinful than others, “unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3).
The word repentance comes from the Greek word “metanoia” which means a change of mind. Several other states of mind can easily be mistaken for repentance so before defining repentance let’s define what it is not.
1.Repentance is not reformation.
2.Repentance is not remorse.
3.Repentance is not regret.
Wayne Grudem defines it as “a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ”. Repentance is genuine sorrow for offending God that changes us to be more like Jesus.
Jesus said “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). Our repentance starts a party in heaven.
Free at Last
It is repentance that sets us truly free. Free from the fear of being found out. Free from condemnation. Free from the facades that we live behind. Free from guilt. Repentance should not be a one-off event but a lifestyle practice. We all need to live this way because we are all sinners. The Bible makes it clear that we are all sinners (Romans 6:23) therefore we’ve all got stuff we need to repent of. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
Heavenly Father, Maker of heaven and earth, Your ways are so much higher than our ways. All that You do is perfect and all of Your ways are just and right. I come to You in the name of Jesus Christ knowing that I cannot stand in Your presence in any other way. I have sinned against You and have no excuse. You know all the thoughts and intents of my heart. I confess them to You. I am not sorry because of the consequences but because it damages my relationship with You. I repent of it, turn away from it, and plead Your forgiveness. I put all of my trust in Your promise that You will immediately totally cleanse me of all my unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Thank You Lord for the greatest act of love in history by dying for my sins so that I can have right standing with You and eternal life instead of hell. In Jesus name amen.
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