What’s Happened to Repentance?

“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Psalms 32:5

That’s such a great question! One that I have often pondered many times before. Repentance used to be taught alot in the churches that I grew up in. But, I’m afraid to say, that the strangest thing has been happening over the years as I have been maturing in my own faith walk with God. I am noticing that we are actually hearing less and less about sin and repentance being taught from the church’s pulpit’s anymore. That saddens me greatly, for we need to hear teachings about it all the more, now that our society is becoming less Christian (godly) and more focused on self and things of the world. We’ve become complacent to our sin. Dare I say that we’ve even grown to like our sin. We’ve come to accept it as a part of our lives, therefore, its okay to do wrong (sin) in the sight of our God. So, what happened to the idea of repentance? Well, I don’t think it crosses our minds too much any more.

It crossed mine this morning as I listened to a sermon by William Graham, who was the guest speaker at Shadow Mountain Church in San Diego, California. And yes, that IS the grandson of the well-known, well-loved evangelist, Billy Graham. He asked that question – What’s happened to repentance? He too believes that it is missing from our churches of today. Early on, in the sermon, he forwarned those listening that they would be given opportunity to respond in some way. Wow, that kind of makes you sit up and listen harder, huh? It did me. I prayed and asked God to open hearts and lead the people to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit (and God later on answered that prayer as I witnessed quite a few people going forward in church to confess their sins and begin a renewed relationship with their God!) But I wasn’t prepared for the work God wanted to do in MY own heart this morning. Yep, the Holy Spirit was a working on me too! I will admit that I was convicted and yes, even challenged – I was greatly challenged! I had to ask myself this question: Kathy, what’s happened to repentance in your life?

William Graham used 2 Samuel 12:1-15 as his sermon text. It’s the story of David after his sin of adultery against Bathsheba, after he had killed her husband Uriah to cover up his sin, after he refused to acknowledge his sin before others. After all that, David was confronted by Nathan, the prophet of God, who not only brought David’s sin to light, but shared with him the words of the Lord, which ultimately brought forgiveness and healing. In this sermon, six points were made that helped me look at repentance a little differently.

  1. Repentance starts with God (verse 1). God was the One who sent Nathan to David to be His messenger. God began the work of conviction in David’s heart, even though David wasn’t really aware of that working yet. God brought about the encounter David had with God’s word spoken to him, through the prophet Nathan. God started knocking at David’s heart to remind him of the sin that was committed, that now separated David from his God.
  2. Repentance reveals the stupidity of our sin (verses 1-4). Think about that statement for a moment, will you? Repentance reveals the stupidity of our sin. Sin happens in all of us, for “we are all sinners and fall short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23). Our sin shows forth, all too many times, just how stupid we can be, just how many stupid things we can do in the heat of a moment. It reveals how quickly we can yield to the temptations of sin that is ever before us. If we are not careful, sin will get every one of us!
  3. Repentance arouses the anger of our sin (verse 5). Or so it should! We should HATE our sin! We should desire to turn against our sin and stop doing it! But we don’t! We just keep our secret sins to ourselves, hoping that no one else will know. We would rather that pastors in the pulpit never mention sin and repentance, for then we don’t have to deal with it, right? We would rather dwell with our sin, allowing it to become our invisible friend. We choose to allow any guilt and shame we feel that’s related to that sin, begin to grow into a hard and calloused heart. And eventually, we no longer pay attention to sin. We accept it. We sometimes even embrace it. Let that one really sink into your mind and heart! Ouch, God! Is anyone else feeling a little convicted here?
  4. Repentance is self admitting to our own sinful actions (verse 13). It’s not us showing forth someone else’s sin. Nope, its us, admitting to our own sins. Admitting them to God first and foremost; then, admitting them to others, especially those to whom we sinned against. This has to happen if repentance is going to do any good in our life and restore our relationship with God.
  5. Repentance is a beautiful picture of God drawing us back to Himself (verse 13). That’s what God wants! You and me, to confess our sin, and return to Him. He longs to “restore the joy of Your salvation” to us. He longs for a right relationship with us once again. And the picture of that restoration – well, it’s truly beautiful, beyond any spoken words!
  6. Repentance needs visable consequences before true healing happens (verse 14). Did David confess his sin before God? Yes! Did God forgive him that sin? Oh yes, He did!! David was then let off the hook, right? Oh no, he was not! There were consequences to pay. This sin cost David greatly. And those consequences were visable to all. BUT so was God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness! God drew David back to Himself!

So, what happened to repentance? It might have been hiding for a while from our lives. But it’s right there. Within you. Within me. I personally believe that we, as Christians, have hidden it long enough. It’s time to bring repentance back. It’s time to say we are sorry to those we have sinned against. It’s time we all got on our knees before our God and pray this prayer of David: “I acknowledge my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden, I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ (Psalms 32:5) This morning, I stayed on my knees until I KNEW God had answered my prayer of repentance.

“And YOU forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Oh, Praise you dear God! When we bring repentance back, we will know true forgiveness and restored relationship once again. In that moment, God showers us with His love, mercy and grace! We will know that we are a forgiven people! And this is good! So good! So freeing! So refreshing!

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” (Psalms 32:1) I can tell you honestly, God drew me, once again, to Himself through the sermon I listened to by His servant, William Graham. I brought repentance out of hiding today! And it was a very good thing!

What’s happened to your repentance? Are you hiding it? May I encourage you to consider this; Bring it out. Give it to God. Let Him show you His love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. Allow Him to show you a different picture of you. Receive His restoration today. Be blessed by the God who is seeking after you. He’s knocking right now on your heart’s door. How will you respond?

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