Why is it so hard to repent? Certainly, we see need of it within our lives and the church, don’t we? Let’s face it, how many people sitting in church are far heavier than they should be? How many mismanage their money and time? How many couples wish their marriage was better? How many men (and women) have a real problem with pornography?
It’s not just the congregation, it’s those in leadership roles as well. If they aren’t changing, then how are they to lead by example? They can’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pointing fingers because I’m just as much to blame as anyone. I write a blog to encourage others in the Christian life, yet I have had the same problem year after year after year. I’m sure I have others, too, but I have one big one that has been blocking me for far too long.
Why is that? Repentance simply isn’t part of our culture, even the born-again culture. We cringe when we hear a street preacher who commands all who hear to repent. Right? Be honest. On the one hand, we lament the fact that our nation won’t repent of abortion. Yet, on the other, we have no problem with our own obesity. Oh, sure, we may not like it, but are we willing to REPENT of it?
Repentance means we have to recognize our behavior as sin. But we’re living under grace, aren’t we? Doesn’t the bible tell us that we are not under condemnation (Romans 8:1)? It does, but it also spends A LOT of ink commanding us to get rid of our sin.
Romans 6:12-14 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Folks, see what Jesus is doing for the church, his bride, to those of us who are called and redeemed, the born-again:
Ephesians 5:26-27 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Are we cooperating in this or are we fighting Jesus in what he intends (and will) accomplish? Or are we fighting him like a rebellious child who refuses to get in the bathtub? Don’t kid yourself, Jesus is able to force you into that tub and will scrub you – hard – if you won’t cooperate. That’s his job, and he WILL get it done.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
I don’t know what the “Day” will be like for believers when we meet Jesus face-to-face. Here’s a glimpse:
2 Corinthians 5:10 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
Now, Jesus dealt with our sin on the cross, so we won’t be judge by that. HOWEVER, the sin we commit on this earth DOES interfere with our ability to do the works that store treasure in heaven. Does it not? Our unrepentant sin interferes with our relationship with God, it rejects the work that Jesus did for us, and it grieves the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, it tarnish our witness to the rest of the world in that they reject God because of our hypocrisy or think that their deeds will gain them heaven because they are no different than we are.
No matter how you look at it, unrepentant sin does not allow us to live like God intends. We are significantly hindering our relationship with God and harming our witness to the lost and dying world. It is very, very serious.
It’s also so unnecessary. Look, we won’t be completely rid of sin in our flesh until our bodies are resurrected. Our spirits will be free of it when we die, but our bodies won’t. Why not put sin under your heel through repentance and the Holy Spirit – let God do his job – and live a full life now, while here on earth, and pile up a HUGE treasure in heaven?
God will reward those who do, my friends. The bible says so.
Father, let this message first strike home hard with me and then others as well. Let us not be satisfied living with our sin. Let us hate it and do whatever it takes to rid it from our lives. And that can only be accomplished through repentance, the blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Father, I beg of you, change my ways. Amen.
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