To learn, you must love discipline;
it is stupid to hate correction.
The Lord approves of those who are good,
but he condemns those who plan wickedness.
Wickedness never brings stability,
but the godly have deep roots.
A pastor yesterday posed the question to Facebook, “What is repentance?”
I saw all kinds of answers that focused on either thinking a certain way in your head or feeling a certain way in your emotions, but I didn’t see a single response that said, “Go and sin no more.” In fact, I saw a lot of discussion about things that take no cost, no sacrifice, no real commitment to living a Christian life of obedience.
For my response, I did not use my own words, but simply provided the Word of God –
And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.
Amongst all those used to having their ears tickled, and who loved all of the responses touting cheap grace, I didn’t get a single like.
You see, repentance isn’t thoughts – only letting it fill our thoughts, even digging deeply into the Word of God and studying greatly and knowing scripture alone is just gnosticism if it is not applied in our lives. And repentance isn’t just a feeling – if we are continuing in sin and feeling bad about it but not changing our actions, that is only remorse.
Repentance is a state of being. It is the state that we want to be found in when Christ returns to call us home. It is the state of walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh, remembering Him, and living an obedient life as a result of our grattitude for this free gift of salvation. When we stumble into sin, we have stepped out of repentance and into rebellion. But repentance is available to us, because a stumbling is corrected and we return to obedience.
But living in open rebellion is NOT repentance. Feeling a certain way or thinking a certain way but not putting up a fight, not resisting – that is not repentance.
You see, God is Faithful and True. He is a just God. There is a very good reason for us to fear God and respect Him with the living sacrifice of our lives.
Learning and growing in Christ takes discipline. To experience growth and to have our roots deep in the fertile soil, we must be hungry for cordon, for change in our lives.
We must repent.