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The Gift Of Repentance

  By Rich Carmicheal

    A major focus in this issue is the need for us to repent of any sin in our lives and to walk fully in the ways of the Lord.  On one hand, we need to recognize more fully how serious sin is and how essential repentance and obedience are.  On the other hand, we need to embrace more fully the gift of repentance and the blessings of obedience.

    The Lord obviously loves us deeply and desires the very best for us.  He also knows the best for us is to be in perfect fellowship with Him, because in Him is everything good – life, love, joy, peace, righteousness, salvation, and on and on!  How grievous, therefore, when we forsake Him, the Fountain of Living Waters, and hew out for ourselves cisterns – broken cisterns that hold no water (Jer. 2:13).  How could we ever choose sin over the One who loves us so, who is so good toward us, and whose ways are right and true? 

Seriousness of Sin

    A major problem is that we often fail to comprehend the seriousness of sin.  The reality is, while sin may ­offer “passing pleasures” (Heb. 11:25), in the end sin is always destructive.  It deceives us (Rom. 7:11), enslaves us (John 8:34), ensnares us (Heb. 12:1), hardens us (Heb. 3:13) and brings reproach and judgment upon us (Prov. 14:34; Heb. 10:26-27).  While sin may promise life, it instead, “when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (Jas. 1:15).  As the Apostle Paul states so clearly, “…The wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23).

    The core issue, however, is that sin is ultimately against the Lord and it separates us from Him (Isa. 59:2).  Notice, for example, how David, in his prayer of repentance in Psalm 51, was concerned over how his sin would impact his relationship with the Lord: “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight….  Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit” (vv. 4, 11-12).

    Thankfully, as much as David longed for his relationship with the Lord to be restored, the Lord longed for it all the more.  He could have completely abandoned David at that point, but instead, He sent the prophet Nathan to confront him over his sin (2 Sam. 12:1ff.).  While there were consequences to the sin, David did turn to the Lord in genuine repentance and his relationship with the Lord was restored. 

Repentance Leads to Life

    Anytime the Lord convicts us and calls us to repentance, it is a gift to us (Rom. 2:4), even if that word is hard, such as Nathan’s word to David.  Or consider the Lord’s word to the Laodicean church:  “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked – I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3:15-19).  But notice as well the invitation for relationship and fellowship:  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (v. 20).

    May the Lord give us ears to hear any word of correction needed in our lives.  And may we repent of any and every sin, and walk humbly with Him and in His ways that are good and lead to life.

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