If America is to be restored it will come through revival. And if revival is to come, that will come through repentance. Therein lies our nationâ€™s problem, in and out of the church. As our pastor preached this Sunday, we have become a nation of where shame is the greater offense than sin. Pulpits across America preach a grace without guilt when there can be no grace without first experiencing guilt. And finally, America wants restoration without repentance. Again, that is putting the cart before the horse.
Ah but Bro Dave, itâ€™s not good to make people feel ashamed for their sin or walk around with guilt and sorrow. We want them to experience forgiveness and grace. I too want the latter but you must have the former. For I know of no Bible verse that teaches repentance without sorrow. Perhaps you can find it in the NTFV (New Touchy-Feely Version) Bible, but my Bible says:
â€œFor even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.â€ (2 Corinthians 7:8-10)
Dear one who calls him or herself a Christian, if you did not feel the wrenching guilt and shame of your despicable sins before you professed Christ as Savior, I wouldnâ€™t give half-a-hallelujah for your salvation. Peter preaching to Simon the Sorcerer made it clear:
â€œRepent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.â€ (Acts 8:22-23)
Yesterday we looked at what sin really is and another simple definition from Major W. Ian Thomas is â€œfaithless independence.â€ So if sin is faithless independence, what does that make repentance? Thomas writes:
Repentance means stepping out of independence back into dependence, and the measure of your repentance will be the measure of your dependence. Every area of your life in which you have not learned to be truly dependent upon God is an area of your life in which you have not as yet repented.
The challenge in that is too many parents, politicians, and preachers are hindering true repentance by justifying individual and corporate sin. If man is the convictor of sin then repentance is impossible. Jesus said:
â€œNevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.â€ (John 16:7-11)
How many parents have interfered with the punishment of an adult child and got in the way of God working repentance in their life? How many a pastor across America refused to biblically discipline a member and then only lose that member to his or her wickedness? How many a politician has failed to do the godly thing with his or her vote and once again giving into pragmatism instead of trusting God?
Mind you I understand all three of the above fleshly desires; it is only natural to do all three. We want to be caring, compassionate, and commonsensical, however in the life of a sinner these are hindrances to true, Biblical repentance. Oswald Chambers writes:
The entrance into the Kingdom is through the panging pains of repentance crashing into a man’s respectable goodness; then the Holy Ghost, Who produces these agonies, begins the formation of the Son of God in the life. The new life will manifest itself in conscious repentance and unconscious holiness, never the other way about. The bedrock of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a man cannot repent when he chooses; repentance is a gift of God. The old Puritans used to pray for “the gift of tears.” If ever you cease to know the virtue of repentance, you are in darkness. Examine yourself and see if you have forgotten how to be sorry.
How about you? Have you embraced a counterfeit Christianity of cheap grace without guilt, of easy restoration without repentance, avoiding the shame of your sin? Beloved without Godly sorrow you cannot have true repentance and void of that you have a sham salvation sold to you by the Devil himself.
If you have not done so, confess your sins to God, admit that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, repent of your sinful lifestyle. Repentance is caused by a change of heart and mind from your sin to God. Confession simply means you agree with God. He is the standard for our life. Jesus is our Precious Redeemer. He paid the price before you ever thought about getting right with God.
â€œBut God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.â€ (Romans 5:8)
You see that? You need not wait any longer. Come to Jesus for salvation.
Dear Christian, if you are truly saved and have been living a life of rebellion, take it from meâ€”one who has felt much grace because of my great guiltâ€”restoration is just outside the door of repentance. Give up that stinking thinking and through â€œthe gift of tearsâ€ be restored to your right relationship to God.
When we do this, then we can be made holy as God is holy. That is called sanctification. More on that tomorrow…
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Copyright Â© 2011 David Jeffers