True Repentance

repentance

As we profess to be a follower of Christ, we must make sure to get the simple basics cleared in our life. For what man goes to build a foundation on sand? Just as our Lord said, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matt. 7:24).  So it’s clear that we must lay the foundation upon solid “rock”. And one of the most basic solid aspects of our walk with the Lord is –repentance. Let us look at this most important spiritual  foundation, one of the pillars of our faith.

Before Christ’s first advent, John the Baptist was called to prepare the way as we know. And the primary command he issued was to–repent. “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matt. 3:1-2). He was letting the people know that the first step to coming clean before the Lord was to repent. It’s akin to the following analogy. Who, when they want to rebuild something (ie. their life) doesn’t start out first by cleaning up and clearing away? Repenting is the same thing spiritually.

Why is repenting so important and many times overlooked in our Christian walk today? We know that our Lord gave us specific instructions in His words to His last church (Rev. 3:19). Last week we spoke of “zealousness” but the next word He commanded was–repent. Why would He say it if we aren’t in need of it? Obviously He knew that we as Laodiceans would need this serious instruction.

So it is clear we must search ourselves closely to find if we have held on to an act or deed we haven’t come clean  to the Lord about.

Allow me to give some personal examples. A few years back, after I had become a serious follower of Christ, the Lord started to give me flashbacks of things I had done that were in  my past. Maybe I’d be driving and all of a sudden I’d remember something I did that wasn’t right before the Lord. For example, I remembered I had hired a man to do some remodel work for a property I was renovating. Long story short, I had run into some financial difficulty and told him I would have to pay him later. Later, I moved out of town and basically reneged on my pledge.

But as I was driving my heart soared as I immediately knew that the Lord had told me to get it right! Very soon after this, I found the man (thank God he had kept his number after 7 or 8 years). He was very happy to hear I would be sending him his money. In (Ezekiel 33:15) we read, “If the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statues of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.”

The Lord calls us what we are when we steal–wicked. I had stolen his labor and practiced unrighteousness. But upon learning what I had to do, it was up to me to repent and then act. You see, repentance is much more than just words. Many times our words are only part of the true repentance. Our deeds fulfill the repentance.

Another time I recalled, was when I had hired a tree cutter. He had cut down the majority of the tree, yet he didn’t remove “all” of the stump as he said he would. It was too deep and he couldn’t do it he said. So, being the unrighteous man I was,  I figured I didn’t owe him anything because he didn’t finish the job. So he said he understood and left. But upon reflection in my new Christ centered  life,  I came to my senses and realized he did the best he could and did take down about 80% of it, so it was right to pay him something for what he did do. He was thrilled and even invited me into his home to sit and chat when I showed up to pay him.

So once we become serious in our walk, we must reflect upon things we have done and if it’s in our power to right them we should. This really constitutes true repentance. Some things may be out of our control. For example we may have lost touch with someone. The Lord knows what is doable and what is not. But again, if we start thinking “Oh the Lord will forgive me he knows I made a mistake.” And we presumptuously think we have His grace ,  yet we don’t make any effort to right it, we may seriously be considered neglecting to “restore the pledge”.

One of the most applicable quotes (and favorite of mine) from our prophetess is– 

“But Christ has given us no assurance that to attain perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-round character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticize ourselves closely, and allow not one unfavorable trait to remain uncorrected.

Let no one say, I cannot remedy my defects of character. If you come to this decision, you will certainly fail of obtaining everlasting life. The impossibility lies in your own will. If you will not, then you can not overcome. The real difficulty arises from the corruption of an unsanctified heart, and an unwillingness to submit to the control of God.(Christ Object Lessons, p.331).

One of those serious defects of character would be the refusal or neglect, to repent after we  “criticize ourselves closely”. As we mentioned earlier, our Christian walk must be a  renewed walk, with a rebuilding and removing of past wrongs, a repentance of wrong doing. “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”(John 3:3).

Our new life of being ‘born again” certainly cannot exclude repentance. As we confess our sins and repent, we feel that special closeness to Him. This is one of the surest ways to “draw close to Him”. In (James 4:8) we read, “Draw close to Him , and He will draw close to you.”

I believe one of the most common errors we make as professed Christians is the error of presumptiousness. Many feel they areforgiven” without out even repenting. It’s kind of  like someone striking you then looking at you and saying, “I know you forgive me, thank you”. What?  The cart is before the horse. But if we come clean to the Lord and if need be, to those we have wronged, we can claim His faithful promise. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:19).

Is not that what the Pharisees tried to do in approaching John the Baptist? Their presumptioness was called out by John. They felt their wrongs were acceptable and no big deal, therefore they were not in need of repentance. If  we sin we have the Great Forgiver, but can He forgive without our sincere remorse and repentance? 

The reward of repentance is that we  have a “clear conscience”. “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” (1 Tim. 1:19)

You see brethren, even if we have all the knowledge of the prophecies, but don’t possess the simple important basics of the Christian walk, we deceive ourselves. Sanctification always begins on the first step–love and repentance.

Now how great is it before the Lord, if he sees us walking in obedience of the basics yet having a good clear understanding of the prophecies! Wow, now that appears the utmost Christian experience.

Last week something happened that was the motivating factor in making this week’s post.

I had been involved in some studies with a certain brother. We had several studies together, each Sabbath evening (Friday night). The studies were quite rewarding. But the last of the studies, we had a dispute of our beliefs. Things got a little testy. Emails followed and we shared why we thought the other was mistaken. He then made the statement which basically said that I was lost and needed to be born again.

I emailed him back and said that he was making a serious mistake in “mounting the judgment seat”. No one  has the right to declare someone lost and only our Lord is given that judgment to declare.

Then about  a week later, he called me. After small chit-chat he said, “You know brother, I’ve been thinking and I want to apologize for being rash and saying some things that were wrong.”  I was very, very impressed. Why? Because we just don’t hear this kind of humbleness and straightness from many of our brothers and sisters in the faith. I told him with a warm heart, that what he was doing was, “great before the Lord”. We left our conversation both feeling the Lord’s strength.

In closing, let us often remember that our Lord is “Mighty to save”(Zeph. 3:17) but we must do our part and build a solid foundation. And one of the most important requirements of us as “Christians”, is to be willing, able  and ready  to — repent. May the Lord be your strength!

 
 

 

 
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4 Responses to “True Repentance”

  1. Rene Says:

    very good testimonies. The lord is truly working His will in your life.

  2. godsloveandlaw Says:

    Praise to our Lord my brother. Good to hear from you. It’s always good to hear from someone I know is actively “working in His vineyard”.

  3. Bonnie Says:

    Very well written, brother Rob! The Lord has truly blessed you with a wonderful talent! May you continue to glorify God, touch hearts and reach souls for thy kingdom with the blessings of your blog!

  4. godsloveandlaw Says:

    May the honor and praise be to the One who makes it possible my dear sister. Good to hear from you, hope the Lord is blessing you!

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