Summary: A look at some of the reasons why Christians need ongoing repentance and what that looks like in practice.
A SMILE ON GOD'S FACE: God delights in repentance.
- Jonah 3:10.
- Many have an exclusive view of God as the mean headmaster or the zealous judge, but one of the things that the Bible makes clear is that God loves seeing the prodigal return home. God loves repentance.
- Here God has every reason to bring down judgment without a warning, yet He shares a warning. But He doesn’t warn them simply as a box to check off before He lowers the hammer – He shares a warning because He deeply wants them to turn from their sin.
CHRISTIAN PROBLEM: We think that repentance is just for lost people.
- As Christians, too often we focus the word “repentance” exclusively on the unsaved. “They need to repent and accept the Lord.” And, yes, they need to do that. But repentance is a big part of the Christian walk too.
- As believers, we need to be repenting on an ongoing basis.
- 1 John 1:8, 10 says that if we say we haven’t sinned then we’re liars.
- 1 John 1:9 says that He will forgive us when we ask forgiveness.
- Those verses are directed at Christians, as is made indisputable by the following verse: 1 John 2:1.
- We need to be repenting on an ongoing basis.
- I want to talk about why we need to do that and then talk about how to do that.
WHY CHRISTIANS NEED ONGOING REPENTANCE:
1. OUR SIN IS HURTING US.
- Romans 6:23.
- God loves us as His children. When we see our kids making decisions that are destructive, it hurts us. We want to see them prosper and be blessed.
- God knows so much more than us the price of sin. He knows it because He saw Jesus pay that price. He knows it because His eyes see every sin that happens all around the world. He sees the hidden destruction that sin brings.
- But it’s beyond just that sin can hurt us. Romans 6:23 tells us that sin is out to kill us.
- We don’t usually appreciate the gravity of the situation when we’re in the midst of our sin. That doesn’t change how serious it is. Sin wants us spiritually dead. For that matter, sin wants us physically dead!
- As Christians, we need to have ongoing repentance as a part of getting that sin out of our lives.
- We need to see sin as spiritual cancer. Rather than our often blithe dismissal of any concerns, we need to want it gone.
- If we want to accommodate our sin, why did we ask Jesus to forgive us in the first place?
2. OUR SIN IS PUSHING US AWAY FROM GOD.
- Romans 3:23.
- If we want to have a close relationship with God, we need less sin in our lives.
- Because God is perfect and without sin, the more that we have sin in our lives, the further from the center of His will we’re going to be.
- For many Christians, this isn’t a matter of concern because they see having God in their lives as a “necessary evil.” They don’t think that God’s way is the path toward joy, peace, and wholeness – they see God’s way as soul-stifling, devoid of happiness, and causing us to miss out on the best of life. They just don’t want to go to hell.
- They want eternal life, but they in no way believe that Jesus offers abundant life.
- Do I want to be close to God? Do I want to be in the center of His will?
- If so, I must realize that the sin in my life is like a weight pulling me down the muddy hill. Climbing up the hill toward God is not easy in the first place (since righteousness does not come naturally to us), but willfully holding onto sin in my life is like trying to climb that hill with one-hundred-pound weights on my ankles.
- God is love and being near Him is a glorious thing. Sin is a brick wall of separation.
3. OUR SIN IS BLOCKING THE ROAD TO CHRISTLIKENESS.
- One of the main goals of our earthly life is to be increasingly like Christ.
- That should be something that appeals enormously to us. Jesus was the wisest, most loving, most compelling person who ever lived. To be more like Him is a great thought.
- Jesus, of course, was without sin. To become like Jesus, it just follows that I must have less and less sin in my life.
HOW TO REPENT AS A CHRISTIAN:
1. PRAYERFULLY EXAMINE YOUR HEART.
- Sometimes our sin is big and ugly and public and undeniable. It’s pretty easy to see it in those situations, unless we’re just in total denial.