Repentance

      My sin put Jesus on the cross. 

      No, that’s not completely true. Jesus gave His life willingly. It was because of my sin He was crucified and died but doing this was His decision. He was under no compulsion to take upon Himself the sentence for anyone’s sin. Yet, in a real sense, it was my sin which brought Jesus to the place where He was sacrificed, suffering agonizing torture and ultimate death. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” [1 Corinthians 521 ESV].

      Sin is the breaking of the God’s moral law. He placed this moral law in everyone He created as an integral part of His image given to man. My rebellion against God, predicted in the rebellion of Adam, does not negate God’s image in me, though it does corrupt it. Still, God, deciding to continue the relationship with His rebellious creature, me, makes a way for that relationship to be reestablished. Since sin brings death, a justified sentence for rebelling against Him, only through death will sin lose its power.  Either must die for my sin which would separate me from the eternal source of life in God, or the death of a substitute who is sinless. I can do nothing for myself, including pay for my own (plural) sins.  Only Jesus, both God and Man the way God originally intended, can possibly do this.  In the same way Adam brought sin to all so Christ brings forgiveness of sin to all. [See Romans 5:12-21.]

      Simply because Christ substituted Himself for me, taking upon Himself the sentence for my crimes does not mean I have no responsibility, or accountability, or that I do nothing. I was created in God’s image for obedience to Him. Jesus took my responsibility for sin upon His shoulders. He is held accountable for my sin.  I can do nothing.  Except obey.  I’m not to the discussion on obedience, yet.  I’m talking about what my sin cost God.  I’m talking about the consequences of sin, not just mine sin, or the consequences to me.

      My tendency is to concentrate upon what I lost, how I was affected, that I am impacted by sin. Certainly, I lost fellowship, a real, vital relationship, with God, broken because He cannot abide sin in His presence.  Over time, as I continue to contemplate Scripture, I discover more and more the cost, to God and to me.  This realizing the consequences of sin brings me to a state of mourning, of grieving in the true sense, because of death.  For though I will not “die” spiritually, I will die physically. The stages of grief, from anger to acceptance, pertain to every part of my life.  It is not what I have lost which causes grief, but at what cost God’s sacrifice was made for me.

      Nothing I do has any spiritual bearing upon what God has already done.  I must still do something.  I must repent.

      Repentance means to change one’s mind, to be so displeased with one’s past the desire to not repeat takes hold and controls what one does in the future. Turning away from that which causes grief, mourning, abhorrence is repentance. Grief, mourning and abhorrence for the consequences of sin is not repentance but the evidence of it.  Repentance involves more than the cessation of doing.  There must also be a cessation of thinking and feeling, of planning and conspiring to continue in a behavior or thinking which is detrimental to physical, mental, moral, and spiritual health and well-being. Since we cannot stop or change the corruption of our fallen nature we must, as a continual act of repentance, war against the immorality which attacks us from within and from without. Repentance is responsible obedience.

      I am so used to sin I have become desensitized to its affects and ignore its consequences.  My sin, and that of everyone else who has ever lived or will live, costs God.  We can know a little of what it cost Him, and have been examining questions which, I hope, will lead to a better comprehension of that cost.  God drags me through a fire designed to show me how sin has affected me and the world in which I live.  I can become either impervious to the pain of that fire, and continue in sin to death, or I can allow that fire to show me, and cleanse me, of sin.  I will never, this side of heaven, be cleansed of sin. This means, I will continue to suffer because of sin. Will my suffering be a cleansing from or a sinking into sin?

      “Blessed are those who mourn.”  Mourning is the deep spiritual, moral and emotional grief caused because of sin when I realize the consequence of sin, especially in myself.  I have been looking at the moral code designed by God, of which I am to adhere.  Rebellion against God is violation of His moral code and the consequence of sin is codified in His divine character.  I have also briefly looked at Jesus’ divine and “human” nature.  On the human side He had the form, or morphe, of a Servant.  Servants do not rebel against their masters.  Jesus’ divine, dual nature is in complete accordance with the eternal nature of God.  This is because Jesus is God.

      Repentance accompanies mourning.  Repentance is evidence of action done to reverse the devastation caused by sin.  This action is not what brings repentance but is the evidence that repentance has actually happened.  There is a change.  This change is brought about by spiritual death and spiritual rebirth and is final and complete.

      Jesus began His ministry echoing the words of John who proceeded Him, announcing Him to the world the need for repentance. “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” [Matthew 4:17 ESV]. Is this not enough reason for us to struggle with repentance because of the consequences of our sin?

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