Repentance and Grace
With the flooding, earthquakes, fires, and tornados, our hearts should be stirring to repentance. Some think they’ve already repented … back in 1989 when they were “saved” and answered that alter call … but let’s ponder deeper …
Repentance is turning completely in the other direction and walking in it. It’s turning from our self-will, which has dictated our lives since birth, to seek and walk in God’s will and let Him dictate our lives. It’s a very deep soul choice between us and God; our way and His. Luke 13:3 Various sins are simply symptoms of going our own way. Therefore, true repentance is going to the source, our self-will, and choosing not to follow it at all, but choosing to follow God. This requires knowing and trusting God; two things that come from diligently seeking Him. Turning from individual sins is important, but they are only the symptoms to a much deeper repentance, a repentance you come to understand as you seek God with all your heart.
Jesus stood in our place and paid the penalty (death) for our sins (going our way instead of God’s) so we didn’t have to. By paying the penalty, He reconciled us back to God so that now we can live in God’s presence. In removing the barrier of sin, He opened the door so we could dwell in unity with God. NOW it’s our part to walk through that door and the journey entails learning of God and repentance. We can’t walk in God’s way when we are walking in ours. We can’t do what we don’t know, thus the need to seek. As we learn God’s ways, we turn from self and turn to God.
Proof of repentance is abiding in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit with the motive to know God, because it shows we are seeking God’s will so we can walk in it. We long to know God so we can walk in His ways and be sanctified to become His living temple. Thus, deep repentance is the response to the gift of grace from Christ.
Because of this gift of grace, for some the compelling need for deep repentance is dampened, when it should be heightened. It was for me. I thought because all sins were forgiven that my obedience wasn’t that big of a deal because I was covered. Yes I should obey, but it wasn’t critical. Therefore, abiding in the Bible wasn’t critical. How misled I was. My lack of desire to obey was a sign something was off; I didn’t bear my cross (crucify my self-will) because I was still following self. Therefore, nothing had really changed. My belief was in vain. Not truly turning from self means there is a lack of understanding of what the sacrifice of Jesus was for.
Luke 14:26 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Coming to understand what Jesus did for us and our falleness is only an acknowledgement of what is. At this point though we may recognize what is, the deep soul choice between following self and following God is still in favor of self. At this infancy of our understanding, we have no idea of the extent in which we follow self verses God.
What should be happening next is an intense journey of individually seeking God to know Him as He is so we can walk in His will. We are to walk through that door that was opened for us by Christ. We are to learn of God from the Holy Spirit given to us by Christ. It’s God’s truth constantly invading our soul that reveals the depths by which we are dominated by self-will. This is the path of sanctification. It’s the natural progression for one who is a child of God. Therefore, if we knowingly continue in habitual sins, we have neglected to understand Christ’s gift.
Repentance isn’t just an acknowledgement that we have sinned against God; it’s the action of turning away from following self and following God. But we can’t follow what we don’t know. This is why God commands that we seek Him and that we abide in His Word, so we can know His ways and walk in them, thus truly repent. This is why abiding in His Word being taught by Him is proof we are on the path of sanctification. John 17:17
Repentance is key and yet sometimes overlooked in the doctrine of grace. God won’t be mocked. What we sow we will reap. Galatians 6:7 Grace and repentance work hand in hand. Repentance is the manifestation of Christ’s gift of grace in our lives. Jesus and the apostles taught repentance and the kingdom of God. Repentance is how we come to abide in the kingdom of God; which is God’s reign in our soul with His will dominating.
If you are truly born of God, you’ll hate sin. You’ll long to walk in truth and love. You will hunger for His Word, so you know His will. You’ll be taught by God. John 6:45 You’ll want to know HIS will not someone’s thoughts on His will. You come to this point of desire through the grace of God showing you the truth. You come to it because you have sought God. Romans 8:29-30
Have you experienced a deep hearted repentance? Not just from various sins but from your self-will? This is true repentance. Are you walking more in truth today than a couple of months ago? Do you have a LOVE for the truth so that your life is moving to living in God’s will? You can only know His will for YOU if YOU personally seek it from Him. It’s a lifetime and daily activity. Seeking His will isn’t doing what your church says or some religious leader; it’s seeking God’s personal instruction in your life.
If you said no to these, get to know God by seeking Him in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit. When you come to know Him, you will want nothing of your self-will and everything of His.
Romans 2:4b that the goodness of God leads you to repentance