Tag Archives: Repentance

Know your Sin

 

Psalm 51:3 “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.”

For many of us in our personal lives, and sadly within many churches, we have become far to unconcerned with sin.  It’s rarely if ever preached on, never disciplined, and we personally have accepted it and gloss over it as part of who we are.  This isn’t something that’s occurred overnight, but has more been a slow progression and culture has aided in our callousness toward the recognition of sin in our lives.  We were born sinful and predisposed to overlook it in our lives.  In our culture, television, music, commercials, consumerist mentality, everything that we come in contact with has worked collectively with our nature to numb us toward sin.  Don’t believe me?  Just watch T.V. for a few minutes and you’ll either hear or see things that would not have been mainstream a few years ago but more likely been Rated-R.  It’s become so prevalent that it has actually worked to change the mindset of the everyday Christian.  Stop and think about what’s going on; our sensitivity toward sin has become so minimized that we now create faux arguments, which we claim to be Biblical, to support our sinful behaviors, such as our entertainment choices or so called “freedoms”.  The Bible calls for us to “be holy” (I Peter 1:15) yet that prosecuting statement gets often overlooked in our defense against sin.

Charles Spurgeon offers the following thoughts on the weightiness of sin in our lives:

Beware of the light thoughts of sin.  At the time of conversion, the conscience is so tender, that we are afraid of the slightest sin.  Young converts have a holy timidity, a godly fear lest they should offend against God.  But alas! Very soon the fine bloom upon these first ripe fruits is removed by the rough handling of the surrounding world; the sensitive plant of young piety turns into a willow in after life, too pliant, too easily yielding.  It is sadly true, that even a Christian may grow by degrees so callous, that the sin which once startled him does not alarm him in the least.  By degrees men get familiar with sin.  The ear in which the cannon has been booming will not notice slight sounds.  At first a little sin startles us; but soon we say, Is it not a little one?  Then there comes another, larger, and then another, until by degrees we begin to regard sin as but a little ill; and then follows an unholy presumption: We have not fallen into open sin.  True, we tripped a little, but we stood upright in the main.  We may have uttered one unholy word, but as for the most of our conversation, it has been consistent.  So we palliate sin; we throw a cloak over it; we call it by dainty names.  Christian, beware how thou thinkest lightly of sin.  Take heed lest thou fall by little and little.  Sin, a little thing? Is it not a poison?  Who knows its deadliness?  Sin, a little thing?  Do not the little foxes spoil the grapes?  Doth not the tiny coral insect build a rock which wrecks a navy?  Do not little strokes fell lofty oaks?  Will not continual droppings wear away stones?  Sin, a little thing?  It girded the Redeemer’s head with thorns, and pierced His heart!  It made Him suffer anguish, bitterness, and woe.  Could you weigh the least sin in the scales of eternity, you would fly from it as from a serpent, and abhor the least appearance of evil.  Look upon all sin as that which crucified the Savior, and you will see it to be exceeding sinful.

How true this is.  When we begin to sweep what we call “little” sins away until like a layer of skin to a callous our hearts become more and more hardened.  Our conscience becomes more willing to overlook sin until our lives take the appearance of being no different than that of nonbelievers.  We begin to watch the same shows, laugh at the same jokes, drink the same drinks, but yet we claim Christ as Savior and declare that He gives us freedom to do those things.  Meanwhile those of the world look at us a hypocrites and rightly so as we mock the name of the Lord with our actions.  Oh the dangers of not knowing our sin.

King David did not downplay his sin.  When confronted by Nathan about his murderous adulterous affair, he was sincerely broken over his sins.  How easy it would’ve been for him to sweep his transgressions away by claiming he had every right as king to do what he pleased.  We’ve talked here before about King Herod and his murderous schemes, his adulterous, incestuous affairs yet he felt entitled to act this way because he was king, but not so with David.  I often wonder if as Christians we don’t have a little bit of King Herod’s entitlement mindset and think that because we have been saved by grace through faith that we are permitted certain “freedoms” or pleasures.

David felt the weight of his sin in his life and was broken by it.  He knew his sins and came face to face with them.  And he cried out to God for forgiveness.  1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.  Selah  5acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah” Psalm 32:1-5 ESV

It’s time for us as believers in the body of Christ to likewise begin to feel the weight of sin in our lives.  We need to come face to face with the fact that we are not good, that even our good deeds are nothing, “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6 When we come to this realization and know our sin, we begin to see how unworthy we are to stand before the Holy God.  We can begin to understand that we’re not entitled to anything, but instead reliant on God for everything.  The weight of our sin should break us, it should make us feel like King David and swim in sorrow at night in our sheets.  Only then can a loving God put us back together and mold us in the image of His Son.  Only then can we truly realize our need for a Savior and that life apart from a total reliance upon Him is impossible.  Know your sin.  Repent of them. And run to Jesus Christ for forgiveness.

 

Repentance

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” II Corinthians 7:10 ESV

 

In just a few short days we’ll be leaving 2009 forever and begin our venture into a brand new 2010.  Often many of us use this transition period to mark a time of change or New Year’s resolutions.  If you’re one of these who are usually determined to make a resolution, but then after just a few short weeks have forgotten, lost interest, or fallen away from your resolution let me challenge you to make a decision that will last, one that our fickle, fallen nature cannot control nor lose interest in.  Start this New Year on solid ground with a clean slate by way of repentance.  Surely each of us wants a clean slate, our past transgressions forgiven and forgotten, unless of course you enjoy sinking in guilt and depression becoming more distant from the only One capable of saving you.  How then do we proceed with repentance and what do we have to do, more specifically what is repentance?  

 

Dr. John MacArthur defines repentance as not just a change of mind, but a change of heart.  In accordance with this he adds repentance is “an inward response, not external activity.”  But we must ask an inward response to what?  The answer to this question applies to believers and non-believers alike.  II Timothy 2:25 ESV Paul states, “…God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of truth.”  In Romans 2:4 the Apostle states, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”  These two passages indicate that repentance is a response to God’s leading us towards it, specifically through the internal working of the Holy Spirit.  The idea here is that left alone to our own sinfulness we will be perfectly content to wallow in filth, if not for the grace of God leading us to repentance.  How then should we respond to this holy influence?  The psalmist David sings to the Lord, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV  We established with the definition of repentance that it is a change of heart, our prayer then should be like David’s that God would search our hearts for any wicked way and when He does, that we may be lead to repentance.   

 

Repentance then is an inward change of heart toward sin in response to God’s graciousness that softens the hardness of our hearts and leads us towards repentance.  What should our response be once we are searched and found at fault?  In the passage above from II Corinthians, the Apostle Paul states that godly grief or sorrow produces repentance.  When God searches our hearts and reveals to us just how unworthy our sins have made us, the response is godly sorrow.  This response is affected by the recognition of sin through guilt, sorrow for sin committed against a Holy God, and a change or turning away from sin in seeking to be cleansed or pardoned from sin. (Berkhof via MacArthur, Systematic Theology)  True repentance is a heartfelt change in attitude toward sin and God’s working in our lives to make that change complete.  As we’ve pointed out before, King Saul’s attitude toward sin was one of indifference, in that he sinned because he felt like it and his remorse was an external response to being found guilty. I Samuel 13:12 On the converse King David’s sins were numerous and egregious, yet his sorrow was an inward response of heartfelt remorse. II Samuel 12:13 Which heart do you have?

 

Are you unrepentant today, not knowing of the kindness of God that leads to repentance?  Maybe you have already felt the guilt of sin in your life, but have not yet repented.  Offer up a prayer to God and ask the Lord to search your heart to see if there is any wicked way.  Repent of those sins dear friend, with godly sorrow and come broken before the cross of God’s Son Jesus.  Believe on Him for His power to forgive you from those sins and know that your sins died with Him on the cross.  Just as Jesus rose again, you can now have a new life in Him cleansed from all your sins, trusting in the Savior Jesus Christ for salvation from God’s wrath.

 

Christians, how will you start your 2010?  Will you carry over your unconfessed sins into the New Year?  Or will you repent knowing that when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  I John 1:9  Have you felt distant from God this past year?  Do you feel like you’ve stalled in your faith, with no desire for His Word or a lack of prayer and fellowships with other believers?    It’s likely sin has become an obstacle in your life.  Maybe you’ve found yourself sliding back into the life you once left.  Have you forgotten what you were cleansed from?  II Peter 1:9 Pray that the Lord too might search your heart and find any unconfessed sin and repent.

“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7 ESV

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” II Peter 3:9 ESV

“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8 ESV

“But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” Romans 2:5 ESV