contrition

166 regret

Repentance (also translated as "repentance") towards the gracious God is a change of mind, effected by the Holy Spirit and rooted in the Word of God. Repentance includes awareness of one's own sinfulness and accompanies a new life, sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ. (Acts 2,38; Romans 2,4; 10,17; Romans 12,2)

Understanding remorse

A terrible fear, "was the description of a young man for his great fear that God had abandoned him because of his repeated sins. "I thought I was sorry, but I kept doing it," he explained. "I do not even know if I really believe, because I worry that God will not forgive me again. No matter how honest it is with my remorse, it never seems to be enough. "

Let's look at what the gospel really means when it speaks of repentance of God.

We make the first mistake when we try to understand this term by means of a general lexicon and open the word repentance (or remorse). We may even get an indication that the individual words are to be understood according to the time in which the lexicon was written. But a dictionary of 21. Century can hardly explain us what an author, the z. For example, writing down things in Greek that had been spoken in Aramaic before 2000 years ago.

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary Rewards: 1) Turning away from sin and prescribing the betterment of life; 2a) feel regret or contrition; 2b) Change of attitude. The Brockhaus encyclopedia defines remorse as follows: "Essential act of repentance ... includes turning away from committed sins and the intention to no longer sin."

Webster's first definition accurately reflects what Jesus meant by most religious people when he said, "Repent and believe." They think Jesus meant that only those people are in the Kingdom of God who stop sinning and change their ways. In fact, that's exactly what Jesus did not say.

General error

When it comes to the topic of repentance, the mistake generally made is to think that it means to stop sinning. "If you truly repented, you would not have done that again," is the constant refrain plagued souls hear from benevolent, law-abiding spiritual counselors. We are told that repentance is "repent and go the other way". And so it is explained in the same breath by turning away from sin and turning to a life of obedience to the law of God.

By firmly imprinting on this, Christians with the best intentions set out to change their ways. And so, on their pilgrimage, some ways seem to change, while others seem to stick with super glue. And even the changing ways have the horrible quality of reappearing again.

Is God content with the mediocrity of such sloppy obedience? "No, he is not," admonishes the preacher. And the cruel, gospel-crippling cycle of surrender, failure, and despair goes into the next round, like the wheel of a hamster cage.

And just when we are frustrated and depressed about failing to live up to God's high standards, we hear another sermon or read a new article about "true repentance" and "deep repentance" and that such repentance is a complete departure from sin.

And so we plunge again with dedication in the attempt to put everything to it, and end up with the same miserable, predictable results. Frustration and despair continue to increase as we realize that turning away from sin is anything but "complete."

And we come to the conclusion that we did not "really regret" that our remorse was not "deep", not "serious" or "honest" enough. And if we have not really repented, then we also can not have any real faith, which in turn means we do not really have the Holy Spirit in us, which in turn means that we are not really saved either.

Eventually, we get to the point where we get used to living that way or, as many have done, we throw in the towel and turn away from the ineffective Medicine Show people call "Christianity."

Not to mention the disaster where people actually believe that they have purified their lives and made them acceptable to God - their condition is much worse. Repentance of God simply has nothing to do with a new and improved self.

Repent and believe

"Repent [repentance] and believe the gospel!" Jesus explains in Mark 1,15. Remorse and faith mark the beginning of our new life in the kingdom of God; they do not do it because we did the right thing. They mark it because at the point in our lives the scales fall from our darkened eyes and we finally see in Jesus the glorious light of the freedom of the sons of God.

Everything that needed to be done for people to receive forgiveness and salvation has already been done through the death and resurrection of the Son of God. There was a time when this truth was hidden from us. Because we were blind to her, we could not enjoy her and rest in her.

We felt we had to find our way in this world ourselves, and we used all our strength and time to dig a rut in our little corner of life just as we could.

All our attention was focused on keeping alive and securing our future. We worked hard to be respected and respected. We fought for our rights, trying to be unfairly over-advantaged by nobody and nothing. We fought to protect our good reputation and to preserve our family and belongings. We did everything in our power to make our lives worthwhile, that we were among the winners and not the losers.

But as anyone who has ever lived, this was a lost battle. Despite our best efforts, plans and hard work, we can not control our lives. We can not prevent catastrophes and tragedies, nor failures and pains that invade us out of the blue sky and destroy our remnants of somehow patched up hope and joy.

One day, for no other reason than that, that he wanted it to be so, God let us see how things really work. The world belongs to him and we belong to him.

We are dead in sin, there is no way out. We are lost, blind losers in a world of lost, blind losers because we lack the sense to hold the hand of the only one who alone has the way out. But that is all right, because through his crucifixion and resurrection he became the loser for us; and we can become winners with him by uniting with him in his death, so that we can be partners in his resurrection.

In other words, God gave us good news! The good news is that he personally paid the big price for our selfish, unruly, destructive, evil madness. He redeemed us in return, washed us clean and clothed us with righteousness and made us a place at the table of his eternal feast. And by this Gospel Word, he invites us to believe that this is so.

If you can recognize and believe this by the grace of God, then you have repented. To repent, you see, means to say: "Yes! Yes! Yes! I think it! I trust your word! I leave behind this life of a running hamster in the wheel, this aimless fighting, this death, which I mistakenly considered life. I am ready for your rest, help my unbelief! "

Repentance is the change in your way of thinking. It changes your perspective of seeing yourself as the center of the universe so that you now see God as the center of the universe, entrusting your life to His mercy. It means to submit to him. It means that you lay down your crown at the feet of the rightful ruler of the cosmos. It is the most important decision you will ever make.

It's not about morality

Repentance is not about morality; it is not about good behavior; it's not about making it "better".

Repentance means putting your trust in God instead of yourself, neither your reason nor your friends, your country, your government, your pistols, your money, your authority, your prestige, your reputation, your car, your house, Your job, your family heritage, your skin color, your gender, your success, your looks, your clothes, your titles, your degrees, your church, your spouse, your muscles, your leaders, your IQ, your accent, your accomplishments, yours charitable works, your donations, your favors, your pity, your discipline, your chastity, your honesty, your obedience, your devotion, your spiritual disciplines, or anything else that you have to say about what is related to you and I omitted in this long sentence have.

Repentance means "putting everything on one card" - God's "card". It means to go to his side; what he says to believe; to be with him, to be faithful to him.

Repentance is not about the promise of being good. It's not about removing the "sin from his life". But it means to believe that God has mercy on us. It means trusting God to put our bad heart in order. It means to believe that God is who he claims to be - Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Teacher, Lord and Savior. And it means dying - our compulsive thinking of having to be just and good, dying.

We speak of a love relationship - not that we loved God, but that he loved us (1Joh 4,10). He is the source of all beings, including you, and it has dawned on you that he loves you for who you are - his beloved child in Christ - certainly not because of what you have or what you have done or what your reputation is or how you look or any other property that you have, but simply because you are in Christ.

Suddenly, nothing is as it was. The whole world has suddenly turned bright. All your failure is no longer important. Everything was put in order in Christ's death and resurrection. Your eternal future is assured, and nothing in heaven or on earth can take your joy, for you belong to God for Christ's sake (Rom 8,1.38-39). You believe him, you trust him, put your life in his hands; Come what may, no matter what anyone says or does.

You can generously forgive, exercise patience and be friendly, even in losses or defeats - you have nothing to lose; because you have won absolutely everything in Christ (Eph 4,32-5,1-2). The only thing that matters to you is his new creation (Gal 6,15).

Repentance is not another worn-out, hollow promise to be a good boy or a good girl. It means dying out all your great portraits of your own self and placing your weak loser's hand in the hand of the man who smoothed the waves of the sea (Gal 6,3). It means coming to Christ to rest (Mt 11,28-30). It means trusting His Word of Grace.

God's initiative, not ours

To repent is to trust God, to be who he is, and to do what he does. Repentance is not about your good works versus your evil works. God, who is completely free to be who he wants to be, decided in his love for us to forgive our sins.

Let us be fully clear: God forgives us our sins - all - past, present and future; he does not book them (Joh 3,17). Jesus died for us when we were still sinners (Rom 5,8). He is the sacrificial Lamb, and he was slaughtered for us - for each one of us (1Joh 2,2).

Repentance, you understand, is not the way to cause God to do something he has already done. Rather, it means believing that he has done - that he has saved your life forever and given you a priceless eternal inheritance - and to believe such makes love for him blossom in you.

"Forgive our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us," Jesus taught us to pray. When it dawns on us that God, for his innermost reasons, has simply decided to copy off our lives with selfish arrogance, all our lies, all our atrocities, our pride, our cravings, our betrayals and our wickedness - all our evil thoughts, deeds and plans - then we have to make a decision. We can boast and thank him forever for his indescribable love sacrifice, or we can simply continue to live by the motto: "I am a good person; do not think anybody that I am not "- and continue the life of a hamster running in the wheel on which we hang so much.

We can believe God or ignore him or run away anxiously from him. If we believe him, we can go with him in joyful friendship our way (he is the sinner friend - all sinners, including everyone, even bad people and our friends). If we do not trust him, if we think he does or could not forgive us, then we can not live with joy (and therefore with no one else except people who behave the way we want them). Instead, we will be afraid of him and eventually despise him (as well as anyone else who does not stay with us).

Two sides of the same coin

Faith and regret go hand in hand. When you trust in God, two things happen simultaneously: you realize that you are a sinner who needs God's mercy, and you choose to trust God to save you and save your life. In other words, if you put your trust in God, then you have also repented.

In Acts 2,38, z. For example, Peter said to the assembled crowd, "Peter said to them, Repent, and every one of you will be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." So faith and remorse are part of a package. When he said, "repent," he also pointed to "faith" or "trust."

As the story goes on, Peter says, "Repent and turn to God ..." This turning to God is at the same time a turning away from one's self. It does not mean you now

are morally perfect. It means turning away from your personal ambitions to be worthy of Christ and instead putting your faith and hope in His Word, His Good News, in His declaration that His blood is for your salvation, forgiveness, resurrection and blessing eternal heritage flowed.

If you trust God for forgiveness and salvation, then you have repented. Repentance to God is a change in your own way of thinking and influences your entire life. The new way of thinking is the way to trust that God will do what you could not do in a million lifetimes. Repentance is not a change from moral imperfection to moral perfection - you are incapable of doing that.

Corpses do not progress

Due to the fact that you are dead, you are unable to become morally perfect. Sin has killed you, as Paul explains in Ephesians 2,4-5. But though you were dead in your sins (being dead is what you have contributed to the process of forgiveness and salvation), Christ has made you alive (that's what Christ has contributed: everything).

The only thing the dead can do is they can not do anything. They can not be alive to righteousness or anything else because they are dead, dead in sin. But it is the dead people - and only dead people - who are raised from the dead.

Raise the dead is what Christ does. He does not pour perfume on corpses. He does not support them to put on their party clothes and wait to see if they will do something just. They are dead. They can not do anything. Jesus is not in the least interested in new and improved bodies. What Jesus does is to wake her up. Again, corpses are the only kind of people he raises. In other words, the only way to get into Jesus' resurrection, his life, is to be dead. It does not take much effort to be dead. In fact, no effort is needed at all. And dead is exactly what we are.

The lost sheep did not find itself until the shepherd looked after him and found it (Lk 15,1-7). The lost coin did not find itself until the woman sought and found her (V. 8-10). The only thing they contributed to the process of being wanted and found and the big joy party was to be lost. Their utter hopelessness was the only thing they had that allowed them to be found.

Even the prodigal son in the next parable (v. 11-24) states that he has already been forgiven, redeemed and fully accepted, solely by the generosity of his father's grace, not on the basis of his own plan, such as for example: "I will work for his mercy again". His father took pity on him before he heard the first word of his "I'm so sorry" speech (V. 20).

When the son finally accepted his state of death and being lost in the stench of a pigsty, he was on his way to discovering something astonishing that had already been true all along: the father he had rejected and disgraced, never had stopped loving him passionately and unconditionally.

His father simply ignored his small self-redemption plan (V. 19-24). And even without waiting for a probationary period, he reinstated him in his full son rights. So our total hopeless death is the only thing that allows us to be raised. The initiative, the work and the success of the whole operation are all for the shepherd, the wife, the father - God.

The only thing we contribute to the process of our resurrection is to be dead. This applies to us both spiritually and physically. If we can not accept the fact that we are dead, we can not accept the fact that we were raised from the dead by the grace of God in Christ. Repentance is accepting the fact that one is dead and receives from God his resurrection in Christ.

Repentance, you see, does not mean to produce good and noble works, or that we try to motivate God to forgive us through a few emotional speeches. We are dead. That means there is absolutely nothing we could do to contribute anything to our revival. It is simply a matter of believing the good news of God that he forgives and redeems in Christ and raises the dead through him.

Paul describes this mystery - or paradox, if you will - of our death and resurrection in Christ, Colossians 3,3: "For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

The secret, or paradox, is that we died. Nevertheless, we are alive at the same time. But the life, which is glorious, is not yet there: it is hidden with Christ in God, and it will not appear as it really is until Christ himself appears, as verse 4 says, "But if Christ, your life 'will reveal yourself, then you will also become manifest with him in glory.'

Christ is our life. When he appears, we will appear with him, for he is our life after all. So again: dead bodies can not do anything for themselves. They can not change. You can not do it better. They can not improve. The only thing they can do is to be dead.

But God, who is himself the source of life, it is a great joy to raise the dead, and in Christ he does so (Rom 6,4). The corpses contribute absolutely nothing to this process except their death state.

God does everything. It is his work and only his, from beginning to end. This means that there are two types of risen corpses: those who joyfully receive their salvation, and those who prefer their usual state of death to life, who, as it were, close their eyes and hold their ears and continue to be dead with all their strength want.

Again, repentance is to say "yes" to the gift of forgiveness and salvation that God says we have in Christ. It has nothing to do with penance or with making promises or sinking into guilt. Yes it is. Repentance is not an endlessly repetitive "I'm sorry" or "I promise never to do it again". We want to be brutally honest. The possibility is that you will do it again - if not as a real act, then at least in thought, in desire and in feelings. Yes, you are sorry, maybe sometimes very, and you really do not want to be the kind of person that keeps doing it, but that's not really the heart of regret.

You remember, you're dead, and the dead are just like the dead. But even if you are dead in sin, you are at the same time alive in Christ (Rom 6,11). But your life in Christ is hidden with Him in God, and it does not show up constantly or very often - yet. It does not reveal itself as it really is, until Christ himself appears.

In the meantime, if you are also alive in Christ, you are still dead in sin for the time being, and the state of your death is as good as ever. And it is precisely this dead self, this self that apparently can not stop behaving like a dead man, that was raised from Christ and brought to life with him in God - to be revealed when revealed.

At this point, faith comes into play. Repent and believe in the gospel. The two aspects belong together. You can not have one without the other. To believe the good news that God has washed you clean with the blood of Christ, that he has healed your death, and made you eternal in his Son, is to repent.

And turning to God in his utter helplessness, forlornness and death, receiving His free salvation and salvation, means having faith - believing the gospel. They represent two sides of the same coin; and it is a coin that God gives you for no other reason - for no other reason - than that he is just and merciful to us.

A behavior, not a measure

Of course, some will say that repentance towards God will show good morals and good behavior. I do not want to argue about that. The problem is rather, we want to measure remorse by the absence or presence of good behavior; and therein lies a tragic misunderstanding of remorse.

The honest truth is that we lack perfect moral values ​​or perfect behavior; and all that is lacking in perfection is not good enough for the kingdom of God anyway.

We want to renounce any nonsense, such as: "If your repentance is honest, then you will not commit the sin again." Exactly that is just not the deciding factor in repentance.

The key to repentance is a changed heart, away from your own self, out of your own corner, no longer wanting to be your own lobbyist, your own media representative, your own union representative and defense lawyer, to the God Trust to stand on your side, to be in his corner, to die to his own ego and to be a beloved child of God, whom he has forgiven and redeemed.

Repenting means two things that we naturally do not like. First of all, it means facing the fact that the song line "Baby, you're not good" describes us perfectly. Secondly, to face the fact that we are no better than anyone else. We're all in the same queue with all the other losers for mercy we do not deserve.

In other words, regret appears in a humbled spirit. The humbled spirit is one who has no confidence in what he can do; he has no hope left, he has, so to speak, given up his spirit, he has died himself and has placed himself in a basket in front of God's door.

Say "Yes!" To God's "Yes!"

We have to give up the mistaken belief that repentance is a promise never to sin again. First of all, such a promise is nothing but hot air. Second, it is spiritually meaningless.

God has preached to you an almighty, thunderous, eternal "yes!" Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Repentance is your "yes!" Answer to God's "yes!". It is the turning to God to receive His blessing, His just proclamation of your innocence and salvation in Christ.

To accept one's gift means to admit your state of death and your need for eternal life. It means trusting, believing and holding in your hands all your ego, being, existence - everything you are. It means resting in him and giving him your burdens. Why not enjoy and rest in the rich and spurting grace of our Lord and Redeemer? He redeems the lost. He saves the sinner. He raises the dead.

He stands by our side, and because he exists nothing can stand between him and us - no, not even your miserable sin or that of your neighbor. Trust him. This is good news for us all. He is the Word and he knows what he is talking about!

by J. Michael Feazell


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