Why is repentance so hard for us humans? Pride. Admitting we are wrong presupposes that there is a Someone who is over us and above us, and is therefore able to define right and wrong; a Someone to whom we must give account. The fact that people will not or cannot repent may be due to a person’s refusal to give account to anyone.   
Repentance is first a change of mind towards God and a turning away from incorrect thinking about God that lead us to sin. Wayne Grudem defines repentance as “a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.” Paul Tautges wrote, “Repentance is not a human work but the gracious work of the Holy Spirit preparing sinners’ approach to a Holy God on His terms, rather than their own.” And therein we find the problem: our attempts to approach God on our terms rather than His. We hate it when the One Someone tells us the terms of relationship and says we have to humble ourselves and submit to those terms. That’s pride. We all struggle with it, and we need to repent.
According to the Bible, “all have sinned and fall short of His glory.” (Romans 3:32) God tells us our relationship with Him was broken by rebellion. To fix the relationship requires a sacrifice – a perfect One. He provided the solution we must accept to receive forgiveness and eternal life – one that only He could provide in Jesus Christ His Son. Thus, true Christianity - biblical Christianity - begins by receiving God’s initiative rescue plan, and making a heart decision to follow Jesus on HIS terms. It is not some patched together attempt that sort of lumps all religions together thus making their own! Religion like this sells a god we can reach on our own terms - patching some spiritual ideas together presenting it all before God as righteousness, and expecting Him to accept us on our terms.
And before we get all self-righteous, Christian, all too often this describes us and the churches we attend! Far too much of this religion has made its way into our churches and out the front doors into the culture of America, taking forms that damage the true cause of Christ Jesus, which is to glorify God by saving sinners. Some examples of these forms of religion are our political agendas, our moral agendas, and yes, even some of our social programs.  Here’s the deal: attempting to proliferate our version of cultural engineering without “Christ in [them] the hope of glory” is just empty religion and it hurts the cause of the true gospel! From this we should repent. (To be continued …)
Thursday, November 16, 2006
More on Repentance