I want to express my appreciation for those who commented on last week’s lesson entitled, Becoming Who We Are. The simple fact that I am a work in progress, speaks to the need to have my hope someplace other than self; thus, I place my confidence in knowing that I am complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). Although I did not use it last week, I find comfort in this verse found in 1st Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…” As the song we sing proclaims, my hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. In the midst of this hope, I am called to change, grow, mature, be transformed. A word that is seldom connected to the maturing process is repentance.
For godly sorrow produces repentances leading to salvation, not regret;
but the sorrow of the world produces death.
2nd Corinthians 7:10
If you are familiar with this text, you know that the person being spoken of is most likely the sexually immoral son mentioned in 1st Corinthians 5. Such an egregious sin is something few of us might relate to; nonetheless, we do battle sin, which is simply a falling short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). I believe this verse provides some insight into this idea of repentance that can help us grow in Christ. For instance, repentance is stimulated by godly sorrow; that is, it is initiated by that sorrow. I think of the number of times I told my children as they were growing up, “Go tell him you are sorry!” Only to hear them say “I’m sorry” with arms crossed and a scowled face. For repentance to be effectual, it must be generated by genuine sorrow. Next, this sorrow “produces repentance leading to salvation.” God’s desire, when it comes to repentance, is that it results in change. As John the Baptist confronted the Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 3:8, he says, “Therefore bear fruit worthy of repentance…” Listen to how the ETRV translates this, “You must do things that show that you have really changed your hearts and lives.” Although I acknowledge that repentance is often a process, not an event; nonetheless, the fact that one embraces the process is fruit which God yearns to see.
I ended last week’s article with the following: Instead of endeavoring to become something we are not (becoming righteous through works), we endeavor to become more like what Christ has made us to be in Him. I seek to be more like Him because I am complete in Him. To become more like Him, I need to embrace this idea of repentance; that is, asking God to cultivate within me a heart that is sensitive to His will. So sensitive, that it moves me to act upon it, whatever that may be, that I might enable Him to change me. I want to take steps in the right direction.