Flames of Truth Ministries
Monday, October 23, 2017

 

Repent – Not just Regret
 Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life.”
1 John 1:8-9 – “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.   If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
 
            We live in a world where we are all just fine regardless of what we believe. The moral compass of the world we live in is so low that to live a “decent” life makes us pretty good people. If we try just a little bit to live according to the Bible we should pat ourselves on the back especially when we compare ourselves to those around us. However – that is our biggest problem. We should never compare ourselves to anyone on the face of this earth. We should compare ourselves to the Biblical standards of God and the example He gave us through Jesus Christ. When our standard is Jesus Christ and the Holiness of God, then our very best efforts are as filthy rags. We must first see ourselves as we are before a Holy God- sinful and deserving death and hell and that is on our very best day.
Matthew 3:1-2 “Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Mark 1:14-15 “And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’”
Mark 6:12 “And they went out and preached that men should repent.”
            The word, in the Greek New Testament, for confess means “to speak the same thing” that God speaks. We are to agree with Him. If we are to agree with God and with the teachings of Jesus Christ, then we have to repent. God tells us that we are to confess daily so that our sins do not separate us from Him.
            You know if we really stop and think about that one fact – that sin separates us from God – we should want to be in a constant state of confession so that we are not separated from God for one minute. God cannot look upon sin and we have to confess our sins in order for God to forgive and wipe our sins away. I am not capable of going one day or even one minute without God leading and guiding me. 
            Let’s look at Scripture and see what sins we should be looking for to make sure we stay on top of our confessions.
Psalm 51
            “Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions.   Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, and Thee only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight, so that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, and blameless when Thou dost judge.
                        Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice. Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot our all my iniquities.
            Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation and sustain me with a willing a spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee.
            Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; then my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Thy praise. For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. By Thy favor do good to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem. Then Thou wilt delight in righteous sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offering; the young bulls will be offered on Thine altar.”
 
            Let’s consider 4 types of wrong mentioned in the above passage in Psalms.
1.       Transgressions – acts of revolt or rebellion - choosing your own way.
a.      When God says love your enemies and you say I cannot love or even like that person. No one would expect me to love that person. Maybe I could tolerate him. I could be nice if I had to I guess. Could I put their needs above my needs and wants? Could I pray for them and with genuine compassion and concern? Consider the person who just rubs you the wrong way every time you see them. Do you tolerate them in the name of Christ or do you LOVE them in the name of Christ? What about that so called “friend” who went out of her way to lie about you and cause others to question your character?  What about that “friend” who lies on a regular basis? Can you see her with the same compassion that Jesus sees you with? If you can’t do this, then there is unrepented sin in your heart.
b.      No matter how large or small the direction from God, we must obey. If we say no or even not now, then there is sin in our heart. If we say OK but do the task our way and not God’s way then there is sin in our heart because we chose our own way.
c.       Take some time and ask God to reveal to you any of these areas that you need to repent of so that He can cleanse and heal your heart.
2.      Iniquity – moral crookedness or perversity
a.      Well this is certainly something that none of us have to worry about. We probably consider ourselves to be moral people and we would never have to deal with perversity.
b.      What about that movie that you went to see with your friends? Everybody was seeing it and it wasn’t really that bad. It was funny when that lady had the affair and got caught by her friend. WAIT! When we laugh at immorality of any kind, then we need to examine just how moral we are. Remember here that our standard cannot be “everyone else”. Our standard has to be that of Jesus Christ and He told us if we think it we have committed that sin in our heart.
c.       Let’s consider another scenario. I’m sure you don’t listen to rap music and probably not hard rock but maybe a little country music every now and then. Have you listened to the words to the songs you hear? If you are listening to or singing along with words about immorality and it doesn’t bother you, then your morality needs to be questioned as you examine yourself in the light of Jesus Christ.
d.      How about when you laugh at the off colored joke that was told? You certainly don’t want to stand out or offend your co-worker or relative or friend who might be telling the joke. You would rather offend the God of the universe who offers you grace and mercy than offend a friend? I can choose not to laugh even without making a judgmental comment. However, if I laugh, then I have said that it is OK to listen to and to laugh at something immoral.
3.      Sin – missing the mark – failure to measure up to God’s standards
a.      If I make a conscious decision to only go so far with God, then I am missing the mark. If He is calling me to go deeper in His Word and to follow Him more closely and I choose to only be a little committed, then I am missing the mark.
b.      If I attend church every time the door is open but do not spend time with God in Bible study and prayer each day, then I am missing the mark.
c.       If I get involved with all kinds of church programs but do not stop and help someone in need because it interferes with my plans, then I am missing the mark.
4.      Evil – wickedness – evil thoughts or judgments
a.      Once again this could not be referring to any of us. We are not evil people. We don’t have evil thoughts OR do we.
b.      Let’s consider being stuck in traffic while we are running late. What are your thoughts about the person who is driving too slow and not letting you get ahead of them?   What about the person checking you out at Wal Mart who is moving so slow and then wants to carry on a lengthy conversation and all you can think about is getting home after a long trying day at work? Are your thoughts evil or compassionate?
c.       When you look at the person who is dressed inappropriately or is speaking inappropriately and you think, “I am so glad I’m not like that”. Are you being judgmental? Maybe we should be thinking, “is there something we can do or say that will show Jesus to that person?”
So now that we are seeing how sinful we really are, what do we do about it?
1.      Acknowledge the sin. We need to see it as sin and agree with God that it is indeed sin in His eyes.
2.      Repent and turn from the sin. This is an important step and this is where we need to know we are repenting and not just regretting. If we truly repent, then we are moved to sorrow that tears at our heart. It causes such a stirring in the heart that we don’t want to do that ever again. It should move us to a broken spirit as we realize that we have hurt the God who gives us mercy and grace.
3.      Accept God’s forgiveness – and be willing to forgive yourself and leave the sin at the foot of the cross.
Psalm 32
            How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to Thee and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.
            Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found; surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him. Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble; Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance.
            I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked but he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice you righteous ones, and shout for joy all you who are upright in heart.
How blessed are the ones who recognize their sins, experience true sorrow and repentance and then accept the forgiveness of a loving and merciful God. This is an experience that needs to happen every day. Rejoice in Psalm 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”