Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Repentance

Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore, bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our Father '; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew: 3:1-2;7-10
The word repentance in its biblical sense refers to a deeply seated and thorough turning from self to God. It occurs when a radical turning to God takes place, an experience in which God is recognized as the most important fact of one's existence. Holman Bible Dictionary.
You see, the Pharisees depended on human tradition rather than on God and His word resulting in gross hypocrisy. They were legalistic and ritualistic. Unlike the Pharisees, the Sudducees denied legalism, the supernatural, the resurrection of the dead and the existence of angels. They only recognized the first five books of the Bible as authoritative. They were liberal and political opportunist. John McArthur Study Bible.
If repentance means turning from self to God than there is a shift of importance and devotion. Jesus states in Luke 5:32, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." One must realize their sickness to seek healing and to turn from their reliance on self to their reliance and devotion to God. I find it interesting that in some churches today repentance is not preached and sin is minimized. We have seen some churches take a dramatic shift to make God more like man and man more like God. So much so, many churches are now scrutinizing the very fundamentals of the Christian faith. Isaiah tells us, "Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him and to our God, for He will ABUNDANTLY pardon. " For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways declares the LORD. For as I high as the heavens are than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." I wrote a post entitled Abundantly Pardons detailing this verse.
The Lord is gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love, for sinners. He pardons sins abundantly and not reluctantly. When we turn, He hears and restores. There is NOTHING that you have done that is too big for God to forgive. He forgives the worst of sinners and brings healing and restoration to all sin. Do not let anyone tell you, "your sin is too great." Do not let anyone tell you, "there is nothing wrong with partaking in certain sins". For all sin leads to bondage and captivity. Jesus states early on in His ministry, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Luke 4:18-19 Only Jesus has the authority to forgive sins and bring restoration. To free us from the bondage of sin and give us eyes to see and ears to hear.
It is important for us to realize our depravity so that we will seek out restoration and forgiveness. Turning from self reliance to reliance only on God.

More on Matthew 3 and the Kingdom of God later this week.

1 comment:

Windy said...

I am so thankful that he opens our eyes, so that we can see the ugliness and know that he is the only one who can take care of it. Thank you so much for the Word!