Archive for August, 2015

The Joys of Repentance

Monday, August 24th, 2015

the goodness of God leads you to repentance

Romans 2:4 NKJV

The goodness of God leads me to WHAT??? Let’s face it: “repentance” is not too popular of a term in American culture these days – not even in the Church. We’ve emphasized aspects of God’s character like His grace, love, and goodness ~ and well we should! But if we’re going to talk about His goodness, let’s tell the whole story:

     Experiencing God’s goodness leads us to true repentance…

          And true repentance leads us to a deeper experience of God’s goodness.

The Church in America has a desperate need to embrace and experience the joy, peace, and FREEDOM that only come with a truly repentant heart. It’s no secret that we have a massive sin problem in the Church ~ from pulpit to pew, the epidemic of sins (sexual and otherwise) has damaged so many lives, marriages, and families, and left a largely powerless shadow of the vibrant Church Jesus intended for us to be.

And though the problem is so very vast and grave, the solution is so very simple… and it starts with: TRUE REPENTANCE.

The Joys of Ownership

King David gave us perhaps the greatest example in Scripture of what true repentance looks like. Nathan the prophet took the gloves off when he confronted David’s sin with Bathsheba – “THOU ART THE MAN!” (2 Samuel 12:7) POW! That’s what we call tough love. Yet in the face of such a stern rebuke, look at what David didn’t do:

  1. He didn’t go on the offensive, counterattacking the messenger.
  2. He didn’t go into “damage control mode,” covering his tail and trying to sway public opinion in his favor.
  3. He didn’t minimize his sin, calling it things like “a mistake, an error of judgment which I genuinely regret.”
  4. He didn’t compare himself with others who had done worse, or with the culture around him that had taken a more “progressive” view on such relationships.

Nope, he OWNED it – Psalm 51 paints the full-color picture of his grief, brokenness, and genuine repentance before God, showing some vital points of true repentance:

  1. David calls his sin what it is: evil. “I have sinned, and done this evil in Your sight” (v. 3).
  2. He looks to God alone for forgiveness, cleansing, and as the only Source of genuine heart-change (vv. 7-10). Notice: no false promises of, “I’ll do better next time!” or “I’ll try harder, God!” NO, on our own efforts, we WON’T do better next time. Real change of our hearts is God’s work, not ours (Phil. 1:6, 2:13) ~ we cooperate with Him, call on Him, learn to walk humbly and closely with Him, but all the deep work is by the Holy Spirit’s awesome power.
  3. David draws near TO God, asking for restored joy and fellowship, rather than running FROM God in shame and condemnation (vv. 8, 12, 15, etc.) This is a great secret to victory over future sin: running to the Throne of Grace swiftly, even when we feel too “dirty” or unworthy to do so.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace,

that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16 NKJV

David knew the Father’s heart, and therefore he understood how willingly and joyfully the Father forgives and restores the one who is honest about their sin. ISN’T THAT GOOD NEWS?!? Because you know who needs to be honest about their sin? EVERYBODY! Like, you and me and everyone else. I want to tell you a really liberating truth:

It’s NO SHAME to repent and be honest about one’s sin!

The real shame is in feeling too ashamed to be honest and repent – whether from a motive of pride, or fear, or religious respectability, or otherwise.

REALITY TIME: just because one doesn’t commit adultery or look at pornography or mastermind bank heists or knock off the corner 7-11 doesn’t mean that we don’t need a humble, teachable, truly repentant heart… In some ways, the subtle sins (like spiritual pride, or covetousness, or selfishness,, for instance) require a humble and contrite heart all the more, because they’re sometimes easier for us to overlook or minimize.

Closet Sins are Killers… They kill joy, fellowship with God and others, peace of mind, clarity of conscience, spiritual power and confidence, and so much more. David’s son encapsulated his Dad’s experience in this proverb:

He who conceals his sins does not prosper,

But whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Proverbs 28:13 NKJV

And David tells us of the JOY of knowing your closets are cleaned out, your life is an open book, and all is confessed and forgiven:

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,

Whose sin is put out of sight!

Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,

Whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

Psalm 32:1-2 NLT

SO as we begin another week, let’s be HONEST with God about our sin (and how are we going to fool Him, anyway? Whatever we don’t own here and now, we’ll own before the Throne on that Day… I’d much rather obey His call to humility and repentance now).

AND let’s be honest with one another ~ part of true repentance is seeking out those whom our sin has affected, and asking their forgiveness from a genuine, humble, broken heart. SCARY sometimes? Maybe even painful? Perhaps, yes… but whatever you keep in the closet will keep you in bondage to shame and lies. Remember: REAL repentance leads to REAL freedom and REAL healing.

Therefore confess your sins to each other

and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

James 5:16 NIV

May you experience God’s goodness like never before as you embrace true repentance this week…

Much love in our Savior,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2015