An Un-Canonized Psalm of Repentance
I mentioned in my last post that after re-building the wall in Jerusalem Nehemiah was blessed to see repentance of the Israelites. As I began to work toward “re-building” with my husband who had slipped into adulterous sin I desired a deeper understanding of repentance. I want to know that there is a turning away from sin back to God and not just sadness that he had wronged me.
Because I feel my husband has much to offer from studying this topic I asked him to help me write this post. He felt there were 3 main points to repentance that have spoken to him.
1, True repentance can only be understood as you look upon the cross.
2, It is not just a “once & done” thing.
3, It is a gift!
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
-2 Corinthians 7:10
There are three different uses of the word “repentance” in the New Testament. For purposes of this post I am only referencing the two below from blueletterbible.org, where you can read more about all three.
Metamelomai is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matthew 27:3).
Metanoia is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.
When our 3 year old gets in trouble his response is “I won’t do it again. I promise.” Needless to say, this is not repentance, but regret that he is headed to time out. Repentance is not a child’s act, but something of more maturity.
Charles Spurgeon says it so much more eloquently:
"True repentance has a distinct and constant reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you repent of sin without looking to Christ, away with your repentance. If you are so lamenting your sin as to forget the Savior, you have a need to begin all this work over again…
A man may hate sin just as a murderer hates the gallows but this does not prove repentance if I hate sin because of the punishment, I have not repented of sin; I merely regret that God is just. But if I can see sin as an offense against Jesus Christ, and loathe myself because I have wounded him, then I have a true brokenness of heart…
Only under the cross can you repent. Repentance elsewhere is remorse, which clings to the sin and only dreads the punishment. Let us then seek, under God, to have a hatred of sin caused by a site of Christ's love."
Keeping with Repentance
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
With true repentance there is fruit. I trust that I will see the continued heart change displayed in action as God takes my husband through repentance.
In Nehemiah, the Israelites repent for their sin of disobedience and rebellion against God in chapter 9. They make a covenant in chapter 10 to turn back to Him. Then celebrated the reconciliation and returned to an act of worship in chapter 12. Later in chapter 13, Nehemiah has to address issues in the church as they were sliding back. They have to keep in repentance. Just because they are God’s chosen does not mean they can repent once and maintain the fruit of obedience.
However, when we know that we have repented and therefore are reconciled to God he does not desire for us to wallow in our failures, but to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. He wants to see us rejoice and return to worship just as the Israelites did.
Repentance is a Gift
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
-2 Timothy 2:22, 25-26
God grants repentance. We must seek him for the gift of true heart change. Romans 2:4 says that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. He desires reconciliation with us when we fall short.
Your enemies hired Balaam to call a curse down on Nehemiah & the Israelites, but you turned the curse into a blessing. We face similar struggles from the enemy luring us to make idols of the things of the world. Lord, I am seeking you for the blessing of repentance for my husband and for me.
Grant us tender hearts to seek true repentance and hatred of sin and then keep us there. Savior, your heart was broken for us, break our hearts!
Your Repentant in the Round,
Please stop back on Fridays for more about Erin's story and what God is doing in her marriage.
*Scripture quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.