Yesterday’s Repentance

Published on Mar 2nd, 2015 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Yesterday's Repentance

Yesterday’s Repentance

Paul shares with us a very encouraging truth in I Corinthians 6:9-11.  After listing whole groups of people who will not inherit the kingdom of God (sexually immoral, idolaters, those who practice homosexuality, drunkards, swindlers, etc) he gives this amazing statement full of grace…”and such were some of you.  But you were washed…”  By God’s grace we have been changed and we are not known by those past sins.  We are now known by our relationship of being in Jesus Christ.  These are the kinds of truths that should bring us joy each morning as we begin a new day of walking with Christ.

What I was wondering is if we have a tendency to see each passage that speaks of repentance and change as a passage from yesterday?  When we read a passage about lust, or anger, or worry, or selfishness, or strife, or unkindness, etc. do we immediately think about how we used to be like that?  Do we fail to allow the Spirit of God to convict us of how we may still be struggling with those sins?  This does not change the truth that God no longer defines us by those sins.  Just being human and still struggling with the flesh should awaken us to the truth that we are still going to struggle.  Passages that speak against sin should continue to make us a bit uncomfortable as the Spirit is allowed to open our eyes to how we still need him to apply the truths of our union with Christ to these areas in our daily lives.  We do not need to doubt the security of our relationship with Christ but we do need to continue to realize that even though we are becoming more like him…we are not there yet.

I wonder why it is then, that we often find that we can go many days (weeks?) without repenting of our sin?  Maybe you have found that you have subtly begun to weigh sins differently?  Fudging on your taxes is way different that outright cheating.  Admiring a pretty girl is simply enjoying God’s creation and is not lusting.  Neglecting the Bride of Christ or not using your spiritual gifts is just a season of life.  My unpaid credit card debt that disallows me from giving to the Lord is not murder.  Why is it that we can go so long without repenting?  How is it that we can so quickly begin to define sin on our terms?  When did we become so touchy in certain areas of our lives?  All of this happened when we began to neglect the Word of God.  We still struggle with the flesh.  In our flesh we are not spiritual and thus we are blind to the holiness of God.  We are blind to what sin really is.  In our flesh we begin to define what we believe sin is and what we believe holiness looks like.  We would never, in our flesh, think up a holiness standard that says we are to crucify ourselves daily.  That can only come from the Word of God.  We would never come up with the concept of serving others or that lusting is the same as adultery.  We are incapable of understanding the holiness of God and the extent of our sin.  That is why we must stay daily in the Word of God and we must daily ask the Spirit of God to convict us and to open our eyes to the life changing truth of the Word of God.  The sin of all mankind is to place themselves at the center of the universe.  We will all fall back into that tendency.  We will, in our own fallen wisdom, determine what it means to serve others.  We will determine the amount we give of ourselves.  We will determine what is acceptable and what is not.  Apart from the Word of God we are left in our own wisdom…and it is foolishness.  In our own wisdom there is no hope, no grace, and no deliverance.  It is only in the Word of God that we learn that hope and deliverance come from without us and not within us.  Peace comes from God and standing in his righteousness…not from changing the rules to fit our lifestyle.

Be careful, this happens slowly.  You neglect the Word of God but it stays with you for a while.  Your thinking is still swayed by the Spirit using the Word.  But soon, if you continue to neglect or minimize the Word in your life, you will begin to live by your own wisdom.  You will handle life by your own ideas and thoughts.  You will find that repentance is only a thing of your past.  Although your union with Christ will be secure because it is he who began that work and he who will finish it, your fellowship with Christ will be fake and one sided because it will be you, in your flesh, determining what that relationship should look like.  You may be like the man who goes to counseling with his wife.  When the counselor asks each one to rate their marriage from one to ten he confidently shouts out that it is an eight.  She, on the other hand, quietly says that it is a two.  They are still married but their fellowship is not where it could be.  How did this happen?  The husband was defining their relationship based sole on his thinking.  He was not listening to his wife.  He was not seeking to know her needs.  It is the same with us.  We are still married to Christ but we are not allowing him to speak to our relationship.  We are not studying his Word or listening to his Spirit.  If you think about our illustration it may help.  The husband may go on vacation with his wife and have a grand time…fishing, relaxing, eating at all his favorite places, intimate relationships, etc.  He never notices that he is dragging his wife along rather than walking with her.  Maybe you believe that everything is great between you and God but how do you know that if you are neglecting to hear from him through his Word?  Part of the hearing from his Word will be great encouragement about who we are in Christ but there will also be a part of conviction that brings repentance that will bring change.  When was the last time you allowed Christ to speak to your relationship with him?  Are you dragging him along in your definition of what your relationship should look like or are you allowing him to lead you through his Word?

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