Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 7:2-18
I sometimes get concerned at baptismal services when I hear testimonies about following Jesus but hear no mention of conviction of sin or repentance from sin. I was very comforted in a recent baptismal service in our church when the pastor shared three conditions that should be fulfilled before a person is baptised, and the first was that they have repented of sin.
Repentance from sin is foundational to the Christian life. The message of John the Baptist was a message of repentance. The first message of Jesus was “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” [Mark 1:15]. The writer to the Hebrews includes repentance as one of the six elementary Christian principles [Hebrews 6:1].
Paul is full of joy when he hears that believers in Corinth have accepted his message and have repented of their wrong doing [2 Corinthians 7:7]. He speaks of repentance in terms of godly sorrow that led to repentance [see verse 9], and then states that “godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” [verse 10]. Godly sorrow results from a heart-felt conviction that we have offended God by our sin.
In the Sermon on the Mount [Matthew chapters 5-7] Jesus spoke about the poor in spirit and those who mourn being blessed. The poor in spirit are those who recognise their spiritual poverty and those who mourn are those who have godly sorrow because of their sin. They recognise how much their sin hurts and grieves God.
Many years ago I heard Floyd McClung, the International Director of Youth with a Mission, speak about the problems he and his wife were experiencing with Misha, their teenage daughter. She had been telling lies and been very rebellious. Floyd had tried several ways to correct her, but everything he tried had failed. One morning before he took Misha to school Floyd sat her on his knee and began to sob. Through his tears he asked her, “What can we do to help you Misha?” She couldn’t wait to get home from school that day and ran straight to Floyd and told him how sorry she was. From that moment she totally changed. Later Floyd asked her what it was that made her change, to which she responded, “Daddy, you disciplined me and tried to help me but I had never seen you cry before.”
Recognising how our sin grieves and hurts God is the first step towards genuine repentance. In our next devotional we will take a closer look at the meaning of repentance and the difference between true and false repentance.
Has the Holy Spirit ever shown you just how much your sin causes grief and pain to God? If so how did you respond?
There will never be deep and genuine repentance until we recognise how deeply our sin offends and grieves God. What is your response to this statement?