When I Sin, then What?

By: Blake Hudspeth
         Nothing makes a person feel all warm and fuzzy inside like hearing, “You need to repent.” It tends to conjure up images of brimstone and sweaty preachers. In fact, you probably read that first sentence in a deep Southern accent (“You need to rePAINT!”)

         Somewhere along the way, we’ve made confession and repentance into nasty words. And we’re wrong for doing so. Repentance is awesome. Repentance should be one of the most freeing parts of the Christian life.

The real problem is that most of us don’t know how to actually repent.
        There are two motions to repentance. As Christians, we do the first part pretty well (the turn-from-sin part). “Repentance” is a Greek word meaning an “about face.” It’s a picture of a soldier turning quickly in the opposite direction. A dual motion of rotating away from sin and toward Christ.

         It tends to be easier for us to admit what we just did (or thought or said) was out of step with the gospel. The second part, however, is one we’re slower to embrace (the turn-to-Christ part).

         It’s easy to feel that, unless our righteousness is proven, we are to remain at arm’s length from God’s presence. We tell ourselves that we haven’t earned back our place in the presence of God. We don’t belong there. We must pay a toll…or read our Bible ten days in a row…or something. But this is not Biblical repentance.

So, how can we turn toward Christ after a moment (or season) of sin?

Hebrews 10:14
For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

 Rest in the completed work of Christ for you.
“For by a single offering He has perfected for all time…” Because of Christ on the cross, you are perfect. For all time. Past, present, future. Don’t diminish His grace by trying to prove yourself. Rest, instead, on the finished work of Jesus. You can enter into God’s presence.
 Embrace the continuing work of Christ in you.
“…those who are being sanctified.” We are both perfected (past tense) and being perfected (present tense). He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6). Repentance means accepting the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit to conform us to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
          We should love repentance. It reminds us of our freedom in Christ and the continuing work He’s doing in our hearts. But we must remember to do more than just turn from sin. Without turning toward our sin-conquering King, we end up wallowing in guilt and fear. Doomed, so it seems, to repeat the offense again and again.

The Christian life means moving from a battle that we could not win to a battle that we cannot lose. But there’s still a battle.” –Tim Keller

           From the moment you fall, repent. Jesus has set you free from sin. And He is setting you free from sin.

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