Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I’ve been doing some thinking about what repentance looks like so that I can explain it to those trapped in sin and who can’t seem to get out if it.
First of all everything is about God. Because he made us we are responsible to him for everything we think, do, and say. When we set ourselves up as god in our own life we sin and are not in submission to God as God. Even if we know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but continue to live as if we didn’t know this, we have need of repentance and salvation may not be ours. Repentance means to change our minds from thinking we are the be all and end all of all things to thinking about things the way God thinks about things. That is to say we change our minds from thinking the way we want to think to thinking the way God wants us to think. Usually, we think of repentance as something we do. We stop sinning and we start doing deeds of righteousness. This is because we do what we think. Or put another way, what we think about God or god comes out our fingertips.
You should know, if you don’t already, that though we should be much better than we are, God takes us from where we actually are rather than from where we ought to be. You have sinned grievously but God forgives even the most heinous sin, if we come to him with our heart in our hand and submit ourselves to him lock stock and barrel.
It is our conviction that once sin is confessed there is no need to look back on it in a way that beats you up for the sin. God has forgiven it and you need to accept his forgiveness and move on.
How do I examine myself carefully without “navel gazing?”
The best way to do this is to turn everything around and look at yourself from God’s perspective. Instead of seeing the sin in your life, see God’s forgiveness. Instead of beating yourself up over the past, accept that God already beat Jesus up on your behalf and that’s the basis for your forgiveness. When you read the Bible, you can see that God loves you and sent Jesus to die for you so that when you look at yourself you see a forgiven sinner, cleansed by the blood of Jesus, working hard to live a life worthy of his great gift.
So instead of simply looking at yourself by yourself, see yourself through the reflection of the Word of God. Read it in order to see what it says about you and believe it. The Bible says the Word of God is a mirror to your soul (James 1:23-27). So, read the Bible and see what it says about who and what you are in Christ. And, in those areas where you struggle, trust God for the power to control yourself.
Socrates realized that the death of truth would mean the death of virtue, and that the death of virtue would spell the death of civilization. Without truth and virtue the only possible outcome is barbarianism.
(R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas p. 28).