Repentance is one of the lost attributes of modern Christianity. In our quest to be culturally relevant and seeker sensitive we have forgotten the importance of repentance. But when we take a close look at Scripture we see the Lord continually nudging His children toward repentance.
How did we so easily forget the role of repentance? Maybe it was the constant pounding from our pulpits about our sinfulness and very little teaching about grace and our identity in and with Christ? Or maybe we thought after our initial conversion our need for constant repentance had ended?
Whatever the reason for our neglect, like everything else in life, there must be balance. On one hand we are to walk and live as those who are “more than conquerors”, but on the other hand we need the balance of keeping our “sin list” short.
God doesn’t want us to walk around with a sinner mentality, but walk as victorious saints. But like any valued relationship, if we are not intentional about maintaining those things that make our relationships flourish, then we will find ourselves slowing drifting away.
Keeping the need for repentance in the forefront is not about loading ourselves down with daily guilt, but rather more about having a daily reminder of our need to keep our “little unconfessed sins” from hindering the flow of fellowship with God. It’s about protecting and maintaining our communion with God.
How do we maintain the proper attitude of repentance without falling into the trap of “I’m just an ole sinner saved by grace” mentality? In the following passage the apostle Paul list seven ingredients that help us live in an attitude of repentance.
“Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.” (2 Corinthians 7:11 NLT)
1. An awareness to please God – “Just see what this Godly sorrow produced in you”. It is having an instantaneous sensitivity that you have sinned. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to prompt you when you have sinned.
2. Maintaining a clear conscience – “Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves.” Having a clear conscience is making things right with those you have offended. In other words, keeping your “offense account” at zero.
3. Having an outrage over your sin. “such alarm” – This is not a “beat up on yourself” event, but rather it’s being concerned that you have messed up again and you don’t want that sin to define who you really are, so you deal with it by repenting and then move on to living
4. Fear of God. “What alarm” – This is not a fear that “God is going to get you for this” but rather it’s having a healthy fear of God that leads to a desire to make it right so that you can enjoy restored fellowship.
5. It’s having an intense yearning to make things right with God. “such longing” Like with other relationships, when things are not right between you and the other person, you are miserable until you make it right. It’s the same with our fellowship with God. We have this longing to make things right with God, so we can have a harmonious fellowship.
6. Repentance creates a zeal for God. “What zeal or concern for holiness” When repentance is a regular part of our life it creates a zeal for God and a desire for holiness. We desire to be right with God and enjoy His fellowship.
7. Repentance helps us deal with our strongholds – “readiness to punish wrong” – Every person has some sort of stronghold that they struggle with. It may be anger, fear, unforgiving attitude,pornography, jealousy or anything you have trouble controlling or surrendering.
Repentance is allowing God to go beyond the surface of everyday living and remind us of those things that hinder and damage our fellowship with Him. Once we are put into Christ at salvation our relationship is secure, “nothing can pluck us out of His hand” (John 10:28-29) Our relationship may be secure, but our fellowship can be hindered or blocked by unrepentant sin.
Repentance is our gateway to restored fellowship with God, When we have a sensitivity toward sin and practice repentance, we can then enjoy an ongoing, intimate fellowship with the creator of the universe.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)