Summary: The eighth article of faith of the Church of the Nazarene. Speaks to the change in attitude of our current postmodernist society and our nation as a whole and stresses the unchanging standards of our God.
This morning, we are going to move to our eighth Article of Faith, which is:
There was a man that was about to paint his house. Being the frugal person that he was, he only bought 5 gallons of paint. Although he knew that he couldn’t finish the job with 5 gallons, he decided to thin the paint with water. He thinned and thinned and finally the job was done. A few hours later, a big black cloud showed up over the house. It rained and rained and of course, washed all the paint off the house. Just then, the man heard a voice coming from the cloud that said: "Repaint and thin no more."
Yes. I am aware of how bad that joke was. Sometimes, you just have to use what you’re given. Now, back to repaintence. I’m sorry, repentance.
Here is the description of this 8th tenet of our faith:
We believe that repentance, which is a sincere and thorough change of the mind in regard to sin, involving a sense of personal guilt and a voluntary turning away from sin, is demanded of all who have by act or purpose become sinners against God. The Spirit of God gives to all who will repent the gracious help of penitence of heart and hope of mercy, that they may believe unto pardon and spiritual life.
I believe that this is one of the most under-used facts of Christianity in today’s era. We have been so afraid of not being able to reach people for Christ that we have almost exclusively been concentrating on God’s love for us that we have nearly taken repentance out of our vocabulary. In fact, in our culture, the whole idea of repentance is being systematically removed from our society. In the shows that we watch and the psychologists that we listen to, we are being told that our kids aren’t really doing wrong. We are supposed to be supportive of them no matter what the behavior is. The pendulum has shifted from one extreme of hellfire and damnation to one of complete surrender to our base natures. Every selfish desire is not only acceptable, but encouraged. Because of this shift, many young people in our society have little respect for others or for themselves, for that matter.
In essence, our society now wants continuous forgiveness and grace without the hassle or inconvenience of repentance. Ideas like surrender and repentance are no longer popular. It is directly linked to our society’s feeling that they are automatically owed everything. If someone does harm to someone else that they love, their thought process is no longer that they need to ask for forgiveness. Instead, the person that they wronged is expected to forgive them just because they are a loved one.
Imagine this: let’s say you find out your spouse is having an affair. Not only do they admit it, but they want that relationship to continue and want you to stay happily married to them. How’s that going to go over?
You see, the idea of unconditional love is a romantic fairy-tale. God does offer His love to everyone, regardless of who they are, but there are conditions for the outpouring and outcome of that love, and repentance is at the very heart of those conditions.