Tag Archives: Repent

True Regret Leads to Victory

The other day I was thinking about why Christians sometimes continue to struggle with sinful behavior when Jesus has given us the power to overcome by His Holy Spirit living in us. I pondered writing a blog post about this topic, but wasn’t really sure what to write or what the solution was.

Then I was reading book two of The Chronicles of Brothers by Wendy Alec and came across a statement by Jether, one of the twenty-four elders of heaven (see Revelation 4:4), in response to a question from Gabriel the archangel:

“Michael . . .” [Gabriel] raised his face up to the abandoned west wing, his eyes filled with intense sorrow. “Do you think Lucifer has regret?”

“No,” a soft voice echoed.

Gabriel turned. Jether the Just, imperial angelic monarch and ruler of the twenty-four ancient kings of Yehovah, stood on the gilded steps above them, his silvered hair and beard blowing in the soft zephyrs off the sea. . . .

“If he has regret, Gabriel . . .” Jether walked toward them across the sands, the pearls covering his lime green jeweled slippers as he walked. “. . . it is regret for himself, as he realizes the consequences of his choice . . . of his fall. But true regret . . .” Jether stared upward, north of the two trees of Eden, to the colossal golden, ruby-encrusted door . . . the entrance to the throne room.

True regret is based on repentance—grieving for the sin, not the consequence of sin. The two are quite contradictory. Completely opposed.” Jether’s pale blue eyes blazed with an uncharacteristic fervor. “And they must never be confused.”
Messiah—The First Judgment, pg. 49-50 (emphasis added).

So often I think we do confuse the two. When we regret the consequences of our sin and change our behavior as a result, we think we have repented. But the change in behavior doesn’t stick and we eventually return to our old habits and behavior.

For example, we are gluttonous and overeat, never thinking of those who have little or nothing to eat. As a consequence of our overeating, we gain weight and our clothes don’t fit. We don’t really regret the sin of gluttony, but we regret that our favorite pants won’t button.

So we go on a diet and for a while we change our eating habits. But once we lose weight and get back into those favorite clothes, we go right back to our gluttonous behavior.

It is only when we truly repent and regret the sin of gluttony itself, confessing our sin to God and asking His help to overcome, that permanent change occurs.

There are a number of other examples I could give, and it’s easy to think of the sins of others and how they struggle. It’s harder to look inward and examine whether I have true regret for my own sin. There are definitely sins in my life that God has helped me completely overcome because I have had true regret based on repentance.

Victory over sin is within the Christian’s grasp. True regret and reliance on the Holy Spirit are the answer.

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To Repent in Ashes and Sackcloth

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent. If you are interested in the history of Ash Wednesday, check out the Our Redeemer Lutheran Church website.

The focus of Lent is often on giving up something, of sacrificing something to draw us to a closer understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. But this year for Lent, I think I want to focus more on the repentance aspect of the season that is signified by the ashes of Ash Wednesday.

Even in Old Testaments time, ashes were a symbol of repentance before the Lord. The prophet Daniel wrote: “So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3 (NIV). Perhaps this is what we should be doing for Ash Wednesday and during Lent – turning to God and pleading with Him in prayer, fasting, and in repentance. It seems to me this would help us keep our eyes more on Him and less on ourselves and our own sacrifice.

Jesus also spoke of repentance in sackcloth and ashes:

Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” Matthew 11:20-24 (NIV).

We have been told of an even greater miracle than the cities of Korazin and Bethsaida. Eye witnesses have told us of Jesus crucifixion and resurrection – the greatest miracle that has ever happened! When we believe, we experience the miracle of having the Holy Spirit come to dwell in our hearts and the regeneration of our hearts that follows.

As we travel through the season of Lent towards the celebration of the miracle of the resurrection, the knowledge of this miracle should lead us to repentance. Dictionary.com defines the verb repent: “to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better.” To truly repent, we can’t just feel sorry for the wrong we’ve done, but we must also turn towards God and ask Him to help us do better next time we are faced with temptation.

So during Lent, I want to turn towards God and seek to know Him better. I want to be in awe of the miracle of His grace and love.

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Psalm 32 Blessing of Forgiveness

Today I don’t really have anything to write, and so decided to share another Psalm. I love the Psalms and I believe they are one of the best sources of prayer we have available to us. This is one of my favorite Psalms because it reminds me of how blessed I am that my sins are forgiven through Jesus.

Psalm 32

Of David. A maskil.

 1 Blessed is he
       whose transgressions are forgiven,
       whose sins are covered.

 2 Blessed is the man
       whose sin the LORD does not count against him
       and in whose spirit is no deceit.

 3 When I kept silent,
       my bones wasted away
       through my groaning all day long.

 4 For day and night
       your hand was heavy upon me;
       my strength was sapped
       as in the heat of summer.
       Selah

 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
       and did not cover up my iniquity.
       I said, “I will confess
       my transgressions to the LORD “—
       and you forgave
       the guilt of my sin.
       Selah

 6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you
       while you may be found;
       surely when the mighty waters rise,
       they will not reach him.

 7 You are my hiding place;
       you will protect me from trouble
       and surround me with songs of deliverance.
       Selah

 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
       I will counsel you and watch over you.

 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
       which have no understanding
       but must be controlled by bit and bridle
       or they will not come to you.

 10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
       but the LORD’s unfailing love
       surrounds the man who trusts in him.

 11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
       sing, all you who are upright in heart!

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