Richard Phillips states that repentance is “the stepchild of Christian doctrine – neglected, unwanted and unappreciated.” While that is not the case in most step-families, I get his Cinderella reference. AS Christians, we are eager to chat about grace, forgiveness, and other seemingly more positive themes. But repentance often gets left out. We somehow feel that repentance is a legalistic offense to the Grace of God.
Yet repentance IS an important truth in God’s word. IN fact, the Psalm we are looking at Sunday is a Psalm of Repentance (Psalm 51).
Let me give you a brief definition of repentance: “A heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.” Wayne Grudem. Simply stated: Repentance is turning from sin and turning to God.
Two brief thoughts on repentance: First, repentance is necessary to salvation. Repentance is so necessary to salvation that Jesus began his ministry on this keynote. “The time has come,” he preached. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mk. 1:15). The Westminster Confession says repentance “is of such necessity to all sinners that none may expect pardon without it” (XV. 3).
The second thought is that repentance is necessary for everyday life. We live lives so often mired in sin’s deceitful web, that we are regularly finding ourselves in need of God’s forgiveness. In 1 John 1:7-9 the apostle reminds us,
“7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This forgiveness and cleansing here is not about getting saved all over again … that is a one-time transaction. Sin cannot ever separate me from Christ’s love (Romans 8:38-39), but my sin does break my fellowship with the Lord. That is why repentance is so necessary … daily. Hear Martin Luther on the necessity of repentance daily:
Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite [“Repent”], willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.
Daily, seeking God’s forgiveness and cleansing for our personal sin. It is a way to keep short accounts with Him. Sunday we will look at David’s Magnum Opus on repentance … Psalm 51
See you Sunday,