Posted by Steven Sarff
Yesterday’s blog took an approach to the question of Homosexuality as a sin by pointing out that it isn’t the only sin out there and rejecting one sin does no good unless we reject all sins. Today I simply want to expand on the idea of sin and repentance in general and make sure that we don’t miss the point of repentance.
To repent is take an action which moves you away from a previous course or thought process towards a different one. To describe it as a U-turn or a turn about or doing a 180 are all ways of looking at repentance. Many things can cause a person to repent.
Some people repent because of social pressure. They take a stand and find out that no one is willing to walk with them so they change their mind. As a child, I made many such stands and eventually (in most cases) repented and started walking a path that was more in line with what my parents wanted. In the heat of the moment a repentance may occur but really, it is the long-lasting results of that repentance that we need to be concerned about.
Some people repent because of new knowledge. There is nothing quite like the words “you have cancer” to make a person change a lot of things in their life. Smoking, drinking, bad food and such will many times go out the window in view of the new reality that has just been thrust upon them.
There may be more reasons to repent but those two really make up the basic reasons. In the church they work pretty good too. Social pressure can be applied to encourage a way-ward brother to change his life. I Corinthians 5 discusses a brother engaged in a particular sin—-that of having his father’s wife. The withdrawal process that Paul discusses was for his own good, as well as that of the congregation. It seems that it worked if I read 2 Corinthians 2 correctly because Paul is encouraging them to accept him back.
A new reality will also help. When one realizes that they have sinned and (if you will excuse the term) sinned really badly, they are very happy to take advantage of the relief that comes from being in Christ. Peter preached an excellent sermon and reached the hearts of those people on Pentecost. They saw the new reality and wanted to know what to do. Peter told them and you might not be surprised: REPENT.
In this case, i would say that the repentance was a changing of mind about who this man Jesus is. Accept that He is the Christ.
Repentance, of course, is not a one time thing. One can determine that Jesus is the Lord and wish to follow him but you will need to keep repenting of things and thoughts that are not appropriate. In this world, there is a lot to be repentant of too!
One key element of repentance is humility. When one accepts the reality and then the path that this reality places upon them, there is a humility that can be seen. Why do we not watch movies that are R rated for sexually explicit (or just sexual content period) and all sorts of violence and language? Why do we turn off the TV or even the commercials when Lingerie commercials come on. There is one commercial where everyone at a soccer game starts stripping down and I still don’t know what they are selling because I change the channel.
May I encourage you to do the same thing?
Here are some things that we should repent of, or at least consider if we need to repent of them.
Our use of time (Do we engage in regular Bible reading with the idea that God wants to talk to us? Do we pray as we ought and as often as we ought? Do we visit others like we should?)
Our use of money (Do we look at it as a means to promote the Gospel or to make ourselves feel or look better to ourselves or others? Do we envy those who have a lot of money w/o really know either how they got the money or how they use it? Do make plans with it for the future or simply spend it on the here and now?)
Our entertainment (Do we go along to get along? Will we turn down an invitation to a party that we know will be wild (define that how you will)? Do we have 500 movie channels and flip through, watching shows that we would never go pay at a theater for? )
Mostly when you think of what you can repent of it will be in the area of time, money or thought (in this case I put entertainment in the area of thought)
Three steps for knowing what to repent of:
1. Determine to do what is right no matter what.
2. Learn what is right.
3. Act on it. (Sometimes this is instantaneous and sometimes we need to make sure we understand everything properly before acting)