Today Pastor gave a very strong, doctrinally sound sermon regarding repentance as the cornerstone of salvation. He is doing a summer series on Christian Maturity. I didn’t get to take a lot of sermon notes, with a little one in and out of my lap it is a bit difficult, but I listened intently and hope to convey his message for my own sake. I need to hear it again.
He began his series with a sermon on repentance. Why? Because it is what first brought us to God himself. Without repentance there can not be salvation. So what is repentance? Just saying your sorry? And if so, are you sorry for what you’ve done or just sorry that you got caught?
Repentance is complex. It is first coming to the full understanding that you have OFFENDED God with your actions, your decisions.
Then comes the immediate realization that there is NOTHING you can do to make up for your offence. Realizing that you are totally and completely cut off from God. This is the 2nd facet of repentance. It is the innate understanding of Total Depravity*. The knowledge that you are a sinner and you will never be worthy to stand before God. There is a great divide between you and God and there is absolutely NO WAY you, on your own, can bridge the great divide. Reparation for your sins must be made, but you can not offer up enough burnt offerings, enough slaughtered calves, enough prayers, enough tears…
The third facet of repentance is what ultimately brings you into salvation. It is when you realize your need for a saviour. It is when you realize that you literally NEED Christ. When you understand that it was through the shedding of HIS BLOOD that reparation was made for YOUR SINS! Not for some lofty idea that Christ died for all (John 3:16) but that He died for YOU! HE is the bridge so that you can cross the divide and approach God…it is in your humility that you will be exalted through Christ.
This sermon made me think. Think about how I have offended God lately and how lazy I’ve become in my walk with Him. And how horrible that is that I have taken the Cross for granted. How I have a lot of apologizing to do. See… repentance doesn’t’ stop when you trust that Christ will be your mediator. Repentance becomes a very way of life. It is the key that brings you into a healthy fear of God – which is the beginning of wisdom.
Thank you, God, for today’s sermon. I needed to hear it. And You knew that. Thank You for giving me ears to hear.
I also know a lot of people who know a lot about Christ. They are very well versed in Scripture and they profess Christ to others. But I simply do not see a heart that has been broken before God. I do not see a heart that has understood how much they have offended God and how much they actually need this man that they think they know so much about – but they don’t really know him at all. I simply don’t see the fruit of salvation in their lives. I do not hear them speak of the friend they have in Christ and how through Him they are saved from the pits of Hell. Instead they go around exposing the shortcomings of others and using Scripture to back themselves up (exalt themselves). And I think they actually think they are exhorting others to holiness when they are acting in such a reprobate manner! I don’t think they have ever stopped and thought about what an offender they are before God. I hope and will pray that God will open their eyes, and that they will come to see themselves for the depraved human that they are.
Funny…but this afternoon in our marriage class that Royce and I are taking – guess what the topic was: asking forgiveness of your spouse for the sins you have committed against them and how having a repentant heart towards your spouse is the first step to rebuilding a marriage. Talk about continuity in the day’s message! LOL!
*For me personally, I do not adhere to any strict doctrinal stance. I believe there is truth in all the different doctrinal positions (Calvinism, Armenianism, Dispensational, etc.) But if I had to label myself, I’d say I am a 4-point Calvinist. I agree with 4 out of the 5 “Points of Calvinism”. I believe that the Limited Atonement is doctrinally unsound. I do believe in the Elect (God has already predestined who will receive eternal life.) But I believe that He is the ONLY person who knows who is who. I believe Christ died for all. I do not believe that Christ died only for the Elect. Christ is a part of the Triune God, but he is not God. So that is off topic, but just felt the need to clarify.