August 17, 2014 Speaker: Pastor Gary Smith
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 7:9–7:10
1) What is repentance?
“Repent” means turning from sin or sins to God and/or right attitudes and actions. To “repent” means to change one’s way of life as the result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness. Repentance involves the constant repair or renewal of the heart based upon God’s provision of grace in Christ and on one’s position in Christ.
a) Repentance can mean “turning from unbelief and coming to saving faith,” Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38, 11:18; 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9.
b) Repentance and faith always go together, Acts 20:21; Mark 1:15. The Christian life is one of continuously turning away from sinful desires and turning toward Godly desires
c) Because all of our behavior comes from the desires of our hearts, repentance is ALWAYS linked to change of behavior – from sinful deeds to righteous ones, Ezekiel 14:6; Luke 3:8, Acts 26:20; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Revelation 2:5, 16, 21-22; 3:3, 19.
2) True vs. False Repentance
Basic Principle: true repentance is focused upon God, based on His provision in Christ, making true change; false repentance is focused on self, self-efforts to reform, to feel better. 2 Corinthians 7:9–10
a) True repentance moves through grief to a hope in God’s mercy that reforms the life; false repentance remains in self-pity and leaves one unchanged at best, or in worse spiritual condition.
b) True repentance gets rid of the sin and its causes; false repentance laments the consequences but doesn’t deal with the cause or the sin. 1 Samuel 7:2.
c) True repentance will truly grieve for sins when no one is watching; false repentance may gush tears before men, even frequently, without true change of heart. 1 Samuel 24
d) True repentance will result in leaving sin for the correction of that sin; false repentance may result in exchanging one form of sin for another.
e) True repentance will result in a life changed in the direction of holiness; false repentance may at some point repent of one’s repentance.
f) True repentance takes ownership of all the details and consequences of the sin; false repentance minimizes responsibility and doesn’t empathize with those harmed.
g) True repentance manifests a humble sense of unworthiness to receive forgiveness and be trusted; false repentance expects forgiveness and is angry or impatient with those who doubt the truth of the repentance, who struggle to forgive and trust.
h) True repentance is willing to do whatever it takes, for however long, to manifest a true change of life; false repentance may include significant changes of life, acts of penance, or words of reform, but only so far as it does not threaten the hard core of one’s sin.
3) SO WHAT DO WE REPENT OF?
Our false repentance! Desires and deeds that are contrary to God’s WORD and WORTH. We repent of both sin’s FRUIT (sinful deeds) and sin’s ROOT (sinful desires). And sinful desires include anything we value more than God (God’s worth), even if what we desire is a good thing. We repent of NOT having desires and deeds that are in keeping with God’s WORD and WORTH.
4) HOW DO WE REPENT?
The truly repentant person hopes in God’s mercy and hates his sin. He doesn’t minimize his sin, but sees it as an offense against a holy God. Yet he is confident in God’s provision for forgiveness and cleansing through the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.
We come to God with conviction and hatred of our sin AND the conviction that His grace to us in Christ is greater than all our sin. There is no pit so deep that Christ is not deeper still. We confess our sins to God AND we confess our trust in Christ’s death as God’s provision for forgiveness and cleansing of ALL our sin. Confess your sins to those you have hurt.
Repentance is a gift of God’s grace – “God may perhaps grant them repentance” (2 Tim. 2:25). And repentance is hard and painful. If you are repenting of desires and deeds that are contrary to God’s word and worth, you will be more and more consumed with Christ, conformed to Christ, committed to Christ. You will not be more and more sin-focused but Christ-focused. We lay aside the sin that clings so closely by looking to Jesus, not by fixating on our sin.