Friday, April 15, 2011
Finding Your Way
It’s interesting, too, that the word, “Repent” in the original Greek of Matthew’s Gospel is in the present tense, meaning that repentance isn’t a one-and-done phenomenon. Repentance, constant reorientation to the rule and will of God, is to be part of the daily life style of a Jesus-Follower. This is no doubt why Martin Luther, who taught clearly that we cannot earn our salvation by obeying God’s commandments, nonetheless began The Small Catechism with a discussion of the Ten Commandments. Every grateful follower of Jesus will want to turn each day to God, asking God to show them where they have disobeyed God, so that they don’t, slowly and ignorantly, wander away from the gifts of God’s grace and salvation.Necessary words when the discussion in church is "what I want" and what we want is feel-good consumerism. Vital words when we live in an age where the gospel often seems to be about salvation without sins. True words at a tie when less than the truth is preached from many a pulpit.
To repent then, is much more than to be sorry for one’s sins. In fact, it’s possible to feel sorry for a sin and not be repentant. Years ago, I met a woman in a nursing home. She was then in her eighties. But she had done something wrong when she was seventeen for which she still felt life-crushing shame. She refused to receive Holy Communion when it was offered to her because she was sure that God could not and would not forgive her. She acknowledged her guilt, but she would not reorient her life to the loving Lordship of Jesus over her life. She would not accept God's offer of forgiveness. It was incredibly sad! Repentance entails both the recognition of one's need of God's forgiveness AND the willingness to receive that forgiveness. For some reason, that woman saw her need of forgiveness, but couldn't accept it. She was like a person dying of thirst on the rim of an unseen oasis.
It’s those who daily and authentically ask God to orient their lives to Him who are truly prepared for the kingdom of heaven, truly ready to meet Jesus! May we be prepared. May we live in daily repentance!
Read the whole thing.