Archive for the ‘Repentance’ Category

From Vitamin Z:

I’ll break it down really simple.  Ask yourself this question:  How often do the words, “I’m sorry.  Will you please forgive me?” come out of your mouth towards your spouse?

Not very often?

If not, either your spouse is enabling your sin, you have a low view of your sin, or you are too insecure in your identity in Christ to confess.

I could easily say that the consistent theme that I have seen in marriages that fall apart (or are completely dysfunctional) is the inability to name sin and repent.  But believing the Gospel should compel us to see our sin (that is what Jesus died for right?) and if we believe that Jesus had to die for my sin then why would it be a big shocker that I would have to name that same sinful state to my spouse as part of the means by which I kill it.

Embrace the need to repent and do so verbally to your mate.  The blessing upon your marriage will be huge.

Related Posts:
Sin Destroys Peace
More on Repentance
“I’m sorry, I was wrong, will you please forgive me?”

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I’ve been reading Covenant of Peace: The Missing Peace in New Testament Theology and Ethics by William Swartley. I will blog more about it in coming weeks, but for now I will post this quote, which addresses the need for repentance in peace.

Peace involves restoration of relationship, possible only when misdeeds are duly acknowledged. An element of “repentance” is thus needed for “peace” to be effectual.

Related Post:
Sin Destroys Peace

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From Peacemakers Ministries:

As God opens your eyes to see how you have sinned against others, he simultaneously offers you a way to find freedom from your past wrongs. It is called confession. Many people have never experienced this freedom because they have never learned how to confess their wrongs honestly and unconditionally. Instead, they use words like these: “I’m sorry if I hurt you.” “Let’s just forget the past.” “I suppose I could have done a better job.” “I guess it’s not all your fault.” These token statements rarely trigger genuine forgiveness and reconciliation. If you really want to make peace, ask God to help you breathe grace by humbly and thoroughly admitting your wrongs. One way to do this is to use the Seven A’s.

1. Address everyone involved (All those whom you affected)
2. Avoid if, but, and maybe (Do not try to excuse your wrongs)
3. Admit specifically (Both attitudes and actions)
4. Acknowledge the hurt (Express sorrow for hurting someone)
5. Accept the consequences (Such as making restitution)
6. Alter your behavior (Change your attitudes and actions)
7. Ask for forgiveness

See Matthew 7:3-5; 1 John 1:8-9; Proverbs 28:13.

HT: Justin Taylor

Related Posts:
Sin Destroys Peace
More on Repentance
I Am Sorry, I Was Wrong, Will You Please Forgive Me?

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Repentance is the hardest thing to learn because it requires the very thing that comes least naturally: humility. Yet it is a prerequisite to true peace (both with God and with each other). I saw the following on Zach’s blog and thought I would repost it here.

Chris Brauns:

The Bible says that God gives grace to the humble. Sometimes, being humble means saying “I am sorry” first.

Think about it. Don’t you find it relatively easy to apologize if the other person says, “I am sorry,” first? Saying it first is sometimes hard to swallow.

You would never claim perfection in marriage. You just believe your spouse was more wrong; he or she ought to say “I am sorry first.” Maybe you clattered your bowl into the kitchen sink and shut the door with a grumpy bang on your way to work this morning and left the milk out for good measure. What silly games we play.

Remember Proverbs 3:34 says, “God mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.” Let your pride go. God mocks mighty mockers, but blesses the broken.

Do you want a special measure of God’s grace? Here is what you do. Flip open your phone and pound speed dial. Follow this script, “I am sorry, I was wrong, will you please forgive me.” Do not, I repeat, “do not,” find yourself continuing after the apology with a criticism of the other person.

You may or may not get a corresponding apology in response. But, you can be assured of the grace of God at work in your life. God blesses the broken.


(From Zach)
I have often wondered why I can hesitate to ask for forgiveness from my wife or anyone else when at the heart of the Gospel is my need to seek forgiveness from God through Christ. Seems as though this is a very common disconnect in our faith and practice. May it not be so.

The Gospel tells me I am a sinner. Do I believe it? If so, why is it a big shocker that I would need to ask forgiveness from someone on a horizontal level?

Related Posts:
Sin Destroys Peace
More on Repentance

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More on Repentance

Jonathan Dodson has some helpful thoughts on repentance at his blog. He notes that there are three key things that must happen when we repent: confession, mortification (this means putting to death), and faith. He then gives a question for each to help you in the fight. For confession, we ask, “What do I want most?” For mortification we ask, “What lie am I believing when I do X?” For faith we ask, “What promises are opposite the lies I believe?”

From my example in the previous post of my own sin I would answer them this way.

1. I wanted money and financial security most.
2. I was believing the lie that God would not meet my needs and the lie that money would take care of me.
3. Two of the promises I needed to believe (and eventually did believe again) are that God will supply all my need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19) and that God works all things for good for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28 – even finanicial difficutly).

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Sin Destroys Peace

Last night my wife came home from a shopping trip having bought things that she and I had talked about.  She spent more money than I thought she was going to. I wasn’t angry. I was anxious. I was worried about extra expenditures and whether we would have the funds to pay for them. I was sinning. I was not trusting God to meet our needs. I was not bringing my cares to the Lord and asking him to sustain us.

My wife could have responded with grace to help me see my anxiety and then to point me towards the truth that God meets all our needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (see Philippians 4:19). Instead she responded in anger, rightly pointing out that I had not communicated to her my concerns about our finances. She sinned too. This highlighted more sin on my part because it showed how I was failing to lead my family by not communicating to my wife about my financial concerns.

Then I compounded my sin through more sin by feeling all kinds of self pity and self-righteousness as I dwelt on how my wife was treating me.

During this time our 4 year old daughter disobeyed in various ways and had a complaining heart. She was sinning too. At one point I despaired thinking, “This house is full of sin!” It seemed as thought only our 11 month old son was not walking in sin. Then it occurred to me how this sin had sucked out all the peace in our home. There was tension between my wife and I. There was annoyance from us regarding our daughter. There was no peace between us.

It was a vivid illustration to me of how sin destroys peace. It wrecks relationships. If my wife or I had chosen to hold on to our sin there would not be reconciliation and there would not be peace. I knew I needed God to humble my heart so that I would repent from my sin. I needed a Savior who would not only forgive my sin, but also cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I knew that I needed Jesus Christ.

After I put our daughter to bed I spent just a few moments thinking about what I would say when I went downstairs to talk to my wife. When we got married we promised each other that we would never go to bed angry. We have kept that promise for over 11 years now. As I reflected on that I thought, “When we go to sleep tonight we will not be angry with each other. We will be reconciled to one another before the night is over.” Then I thought, “Why not live in that future reality now? Why not put away my self-righteousness, self-pity, and anger (God had already mercifully set me free from the anxiety I had been feeling)?” So that was the attitude I took with me as I walked down the stairs to work through all that had happened with my wife.

As we talked I was able to confess my sin to her. She was able to confess her sin to me. We repented and we forgave each other. And praise the Lord, we had peace again.

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I recently preached a sermon on the prophet Jonah (Yunus) so I have been thinking about repentance. For those who aren’t familiar with the story of Jonah, here it is in a nutshell (or you could read the whole book in the Old Testament in about 10 minutes).

The Lord told the prophet Jonah to go to Nineveh and call out against it for all their evil. Instead of obeying he tried to flee from God by getting on a boat sailing to Tarshish. The Lord then caused a great storm on the sea and the only way for the sailors to be saved was for them to throw Jonah overboard. Jonah was then swallowed by a great fish and after praying from its belly, the fish vomited Jonah on dry ground. God again told him to preach to the Ninevites and finally he went. When the Ninevites heard his simple message of judgment they repented. All of them. From the king to the lowliest servant. God then showed mercy to them all.

One thing that Jonah teaches us is that we must be repentant people. After God showed mercy to the Ninevites Jonah was angry because he didn’t want them to be saved. He didn’t want them to repent. God chastised him for his anger and asked, “And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle” (Jonah 4:11)? That is the last verse of the book and leaves us wondering whether Jonah will repent of his lack of compassion.

The tricky thing with repentance is that so few of us understand what it means. Here is my basic four part definition. 1) Repentance means that we are sorry for our sin. We actually grieve our sin for how it affects others and the way it brings dishonor to God. 2) Repentance means that we confess our sin as sin. We don’t blame others (“I’m sorry I got angry, but if you hadn’t . . .”). Our sin is our sin and when we repent we say so. 3) Repentance means we ask for forgiveness. We recognize that our sin is an offense and that it needs to be forgiven. 4) Repentance means that we turn away from our sin and turn towards God. Repentance doesn’t guarantee that we will never commit that act of sin again, but it does mean we won’t tolerate it in our lives and we will do all that we can to see change come in our lives.

God commands that people everywhere repent (Acts 17:30-31). It is the call to repentance that God gave after Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 238).

This is hard to do. I cannot repent and be proud at the same time and unfortunately pride is my common disposition. I am naturally inclined to think I am better than you. This is why I need to God’s grace. I need him to overcome my sin and give me the gift not only of faith, but also the gift of repentance (see 2 Timothy 2:25). There isn’t one of us who does not sin everyday. Therefore we each ought to repent everyday. Do you?

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