I’ve been involved with several conversations this week about the concept of repentance. I was anticipating it coming up in the Sunday School lesson from the book of Ruth, but imagine my surprise when it also came up during the sermon. Don’t you love when God has a message for you and it’s reinforced repeatedly?!?!?!
According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition of repentance is the act of turning away from a behavior; sincere regret or remorse.
Most Christians would agree that scripture details repentance as an integral part of salvation. We acknowledge our sin, we repent of it, we ask forgiveness for it, and we accept that Jesus took our punishment and is our Savior.
God has offered us amazing grace. However, I think there are many within the church who have fallen for the lies of the enemy that repentance is cloaked in grace.
In other words, true repentance is acknowledging sin and turning from that sinful thought or behavior. In the case of counterfeit repentance, church culture acknowledges the sin but does not turn from the sinfulness in the belief that grace will cover that sin.
Not only is that counterfeit repentance, but it is also counterfeit grace. That is grace that allows us to remain in sin. But it is not true grace. God did not design grace in that manner. In fact, the enemy delights in us falling for the counterfeit grace, as it does not lead us to the cross nor will it allow us to live life abundantly.
In order to combat “counterfeit-ness” in our lives, we need to get tough on our sins. We need to complete an in-depth analysis of our thoughts, our words, and our actions. Do they glorify God? Or are they steeped in sin? Are we willing to turn from that sin, ask for forgiveness, and then do our best to not return to that sin?
I am praying that I will have a serious chat with myself about sin…I am praying that for you too. I pray God reveals sin that we have previously excused. And I pray that we beg for forgiveness and turn from that sin.
At that point, we’ll have true repentance…and true grace can be experienced.