True Repentance

“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭51:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

IMG_1556I love the example of true repentance David portrays in Psalms 51. David had been confronted by Nathan the prophet about his adultery with Bathsheba. I encourage you to go read the entire chapter now. (Click the reference above.)

Three Steps of True Repentance:

  1. Acknowledge the sin: When Nathan confronted David with his sin he didn’t try to make excuses for what he had done. He accepted responsibility and his prayer reflects sincere conviction. Initially he tried to hide his sin by committing yet another sin, the murder of Bathsheba’s husband. I imagine David was already feeling the weight of his guilt long before Nathan ever confronted him.  God used Nathan to help David see we cannot hide from our past. We have to confront it before we can leave it behind.  
  2. Accept the consequences: David’s sin cost him the life of his son. (See: 2 Samuel 12) God will always forgive our sin, but that doesn’t mean we will always escape the consequences of our actions. God’s punishments have purpose. They are not about vengeance. 
  3. Pray for God’s mercy, cleansing and restoration: Most of David’s prayer is spent asking for God’s mercy, cleansing and restoration. As dire as the loss of his son was, David knew he couldn’t live without his fellowship with God. He needed God to do what he was not capable of doing himself. When we do our part (repent), God does His part (restore). God loves us. He longs to forgive us and cleanse us. When my son was a child he hated taking a bath, but once I got him in the tub, he didn’t want to get out. When I think of our reluctance to go to God with a spirit of true repentance I imagine the same scenario . Just dive into the cleansing stream. You won’t want to leave. 

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving me an example of what repentance looks like in David’s prayer. This Psalm has been a favorite of mine for many years because I can relate to David’s desire for inner healing. My heart longs for the purity only You can provide, Lord. I don’t want anything to interfere with my fellowship with You. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Convict me when needed and remind me to dive into Your cleansing stream. Bathe me in the joy of Your salvation. Keep me humble enough Lord to allow my transparency to impact others who need to know You are a God of love and mercy.

 

Justice or Mercy? The Choice is Yours

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

IMG_1513I have earned a death penalty for my sins. People often ask why a loving God would send anyone to Hell. I confess, I have struggled with this question. But the truth is, He has given us a choice … justice (getting what we deserve) or mercy (having our wages paid in full by Jesus.) The choice is ours.

The problem is we do not see our sins as worthy of death. We make ourselves judges over God when we try to justify what level of sin actually deserves eternal death (separation from God). 

We cannot understand God’s repulsion of sin because we have lived in a fallen world all our lives. I imagine if we had one glimpse of Heaven and the purity of God’s presence we would fall to our knees and join the angels in their chorus of, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.” God hates sin so much He had to turn His back on Jesus as He who knew no sin became sin for us. (See: Matthew 27:46 and II Corinthians 5:21)

As a society we SCREAM for justice; unless that justice impacts us, or someone we love, in a negative way. We rave defiantly against a God who would send someone to Hell, yet are infuriated when someone who commits a crime we deem worthy of death is given mercy by the court. What a double standard.

The “good news” is He offers us mercy IF we will accept His gift … the sacrificial payment of our debt, by Christ. Any good parent would gladly lay down their life for their child, and that is exactly what God did! But, you cannot benefit from a gift unless you receive it. 

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19  (NKJV)

PRAYER:
Father, thank You for Your mercy and the gift of eternal life. Because of Your love I do not have to face the judgement I deserve for the wages of my sin. Jesus, thank You for being willing to take MY place on the cross.

I pray today for those who do not know Your love, for those who have not experienced Your mercy. Lord, help them to see that You are a God of love, but also a God of justice. You have provided a path of redemption but we must accept it to receive it.

Help us to see sin as You see it. Remove the blinders from our eyes and show us truth. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen