Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Common Christian Complex: Repentance

In the inaugural post for this series, I discussed the idea of holy discontentment and how not being satisfied with our personal spiritual walks is key to pursuing holiness. 

Assuming you didn't click the hyperlink above, here is the gist of what I said:

"This is the thesis: Christians should never be satisfied with their Christian walk. There is always more work to do. There are ways to be more effective, more efficient, and more pro-active. By keeping a healthy holy discontentment at the forefront of our minds, we can sustain a fire for God that keeps us disciplined and in line with God's Word."

"When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said 'Repent,' He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance."

This is the first of Martin Luther's 95 Theses that he nailed to the door of Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany nearly 500 years ago. The word "repent" has (or should have) a major impact on the Church.

Repentance (metanoeo in the Greek) literally means to change one's mind or purpose. Strong's adds that it means to "amend with abhorrence of one's past sins."

Repentance is majorly seen at the moment of a person's salvation. This is the time when a sinner is at the end of himself and finding himself in total brokenness, he turns from his sin and toward the Lord Jesus Christ. But it doesn't stop there -- as seen in this "Common Christian Complex," believers will find themselves in sin whether it be habitual or a one-time occurrence.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 
1 John 1:9-10

At this point in the cycle, it's time to look at your life and call a spade a spade. Sinfulness, whether it has entered by way of comission (doing something you shouldn't) or omission (not doing something you should be doing), needs to be addressed. This is serious business. Somewhere along the way, many Christians' hearts have become hardened to their own sin and they know that since they're covered by grace they don't need to repent. Oh, but if it weren't for Hebrews:

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins...
Hebrews 10:26

Some people might even think that if they continue on in their sin, they are making much of God's grace. After all, the more sin there is to forgive, the more grace is required. Oh, but if it weren't for Romans:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!
Romans 6:1-2a

The Lord wants His people to fervently pursue righteousness. There is no room for slack. This is in no way to say that believers should be uptight, worried, legalistic, or judgmental. Christians should use the freedom of the grace of Christ to be the servants God has called them to be. 

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 
1 Peter 2:16

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1
Do you need to repent?

What often happens is that Christians feel completely stuck in a rut in their spiritual lives and they stay there. To mock a popular DirecTV commercial...

Many Christians start feeling spiritually content in their walk with God when they've been obedient for a period of time. When Christians feel content in their holiness they get comfortable and stop caring as much about righteousness. When Christians stop caring as much about righteousness, they don't exercise discernment. When Christians don't exercise discernment, they find themselves in sinfulness. When Christians find themselves in sinfulness they feel hopeless and defeated.

Don't feel hopeless and completely defeated.

Repentance is what this Christian life is all about. We grow in Christ, we learn more about God's character, and we are encouraged in the Holy Spirit when we turn from our sin and turn toward the Lord.

If you need to repent today, don't delay. Read Romans 6 and make a decision to live up to your calling.

God bless.     

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