The process of repentance

In Youth Group, we have been talking about our sin, and contrasted with God’s great love that forgives us of our sin.

Psalm 103:10-11 says, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.”

I’m afraid that too often we skip ahead to the God’s great love part and forget about what we truly deserve because of our sin.  The truth of God’s great love to forgive us is even more incredible when we come to an understanding of our sin.

As I studied this topic of sin and God’s love, I identified a process of repentance.  I wonder how our lives and our churches would look if we took our sin seriously and followed this biblical process of repentance.

Identify the sin – I truly believe this is the first step, and perhaps the most crucial.  Often our sin goes undetected and until we identify it, it is difficult to enter into repentance.  Put your finger on a specific sin, not just a general sin.  We must give our sin a name and recognize what we are doing and why. 

Feel Godly sorrow for the sin  – When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth he wrote, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Cor 7:10).  God WANTS us to feel bad, to feel sorry for our sin.

Stop the sin  – Seems basic, but pretty important.  If we aren’t willing to stop the sin that we are committing, we are missing a big part of repentance.

Confess the sin  – Scripture commands us to confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9) and to each other (James 5:16).  There is something about verbalizing our confession that seems to be important to God.

Receive God’s love & forgiveness  – This can be a difficult step for some.  Do we really believe that God loves us?  Do we allow Him to forgive us?  Or do we think that we are unlovable and unforgivable?  Actually receiving God’s love and forgiveness sets us free from the burden of sin and brings us closer to Him.

Be changed  – Allow God’s love to change your desires.  When we experience God’s love, we should desire Him above anything that sin can offer us.

Make things right – There are often worldly consequences to our sins.  Have you wronged someone?  Go to that person and make it right.  Did you steal something?  Go back and repay who you stole from.

I have been challenged many times by this quote from Charles Spurgeon. – “If your sin is small then your Savior will be small also. But if your sin is great, then your Savior must be great.”  May we take seriously the weight of our sin and the incredible love of our savior that overcame our sin on the cross.

Have I missed anything?  Is there anything you would add or change to this process that is consistent with scripture and your experiences?

Blessings,

Josh

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