Summary: When I say “repentance” what comes to mind? The word has become one used primarily in religious conversations. Dinner time talks don’t usually center around the concept of repentance. Yet is a key to our eternal destiny and our every day walk with God.
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What Is Repentance?
Pastor Tom Fuller
When I say “repentance” what comes to mind? The word has become one used primarily in religious conversations. Dinner time talks don’t usually center around the concept of repentance. Yet is a key to our eternal destiny and our every day walk with God.
What does it mean to repent? As we get into the 7th chapter of 2nd Corinthians we’re going to find out but first I want to talk about what repentance is NOT.
• Repentance is not feeling guilty.
We do something wrong and the Holy Spirit or our conscience tells us its wrong and we feel guilty – that isn’t repentance
• Repentance is not confession.
Confession is a part of repentance but isn’t the whole picture. Just admitting to a sin doesn’t mean you have repented.
• Repentance is not rationalizing or giving reasons for sin.
Remember the Garden of Eden? “The woman …” “The serpent …”
We don’t necessarily think the sin is okay, but there were extenuating circumstances. That’s not repentance.
• Repentance is not penance.
This is big in the Catholic church – but we do it too. “God if you’ll forgive me I’ll go to church every day for the rest of my life and spend 4 hours a day in prayer.” Or we do something to prove that we really should be forgiven like give lots of money. This too is not repentance.
So what is it? It’s obviously important.
Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”
Let’s read on and find out.
7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
Some people stop right here – they preach the purity and the “perfecting holiness” but they leave out God’s grace in the “how”. They say “be holy, even as I am holy” but don’t let us know that we are simply incapable of it. It’s impossible. So we are set up for failure.
To understand how to get to purity we must understand 1) that only God can make us pure – and that 2) the first step for us is repentance. (Paul gets to that in verse 8)
First he sets the stage by stating his own innocence. And here’s a good word too – if you didn’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to apologize about!
2 Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. 4 I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.
Wronged: injured. Corrupted: bribed. Exploited: cheated.
Our actions didn’t cause anyone harm – we didn’t “buy” anyone’s loyalty, nor did we use other people for our own gain.
Paul had really opened himself up, made himself vulnerable to these people – but they held themselves aloof. “I’ve given everything for you” he says – don’t separate yourself from me, don’t fight against what I’m trying to bring to your life in the Lord.
Paul said he was encouraged because of the word he finally received back in person from Titus.
5 For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn-conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
Remember – Paul had written a very important letter to the Corinthians – a letter we don’t have. He called it “tearful” in chapter 2. He was so anxious to know how it was received that he went to Macedonia to find him.
The news Paul got was doubly good – Titus was all right, and many of the Corinthians were sorry for treating Paul so badly and were now looking forward to him coming.
I get this picture of Paul, pacing back and forth – worried about how the letter will be received – caring so much for them, and hoping and praying that they will let go of this hardness of heart.
That’s a lot of how God thinks about us. He sent us a letter telling us of His love, and urging us to repent – and he wonders how we will receive it. Think of Jesus outside of Jerusalem –