Talk 5, Get Ready

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2 comments on “Talk 5, Get Ready
  1. Bec says:

    I struggle to fully understand repentance (if anyone has a book they’d recommend can u suggest it). I’m often unsure if I’m truly repentant for a few reasons.
    One would be because I don’t Grieve my sin very deeply. Id say I often enjoy my sin. If I’m not deeply ashamed and grieving my sin against God, am I still repentant when I come to him for forgiveness? Is my repentance genuine? Is my faith genuine? (and about a million other questions go round in my head after that)

  2. Pete Thompson says:

    Hi Bec

    Thanks for sharing your confusion regarding repentance – while some people rarely ask those kind of questions, for others they can be an ongoing source of confusion and guilt and doubt. You’re not the only one!

    This is a truly massive subject and I can only touch on a few key things here but I hope they help…

    I think one of the sources of confusion is that repentance is necessary for our justification, and also for our sanctification. That is to say, there is a sense in which there is a GENERAL repentance when we turn back to God through Christ and are saved by his mercy and grace; and then there is also a more SPECIFIC and ongoing repentance which relates to turning away from particular sins. I think its important to recognise that there is a relationship between the two forms of repentance, but also that they are not the same thing, nor do they achieve the same thing. The first enables us to grab hold of Christ in faith and deals with the problem of our SIN, the second wrestles with the problem of our SINS as we work out our faith in the trenches of daily life. The thing is, it’s possible to worry so much about our sanctification (or lack of it!) that it starts to undermine our confidence in our justification. This is what week 5 of the Gospel-Centred Community studies was getting at.

    So how can we break this vicious cycle and remain confident in Christ’s faithfulness to us while at the same time growing in our faithfulness to him? I think there are two parts to the answer and we’ve got to pursue both continually and with equal attention and determination: 1) Put on Christ; and 2) Put off our old self.

    1) Put on Christ
    One of the beautiful gifts of the gospel is that it declares us completely and irreversibly righteous in Christ – not only in spite of the sins we’ve done, but ALSO in light of the sins we are yet to do! It’s so important that you live in the humble confidence and assurance of the gospel because only then will you have the sure footing you need to fight the ongoing battle against sin effectively. Only when you delight in the truly undeserved and unconditional nature of the Father’s love for you in Christ will you be sufficiently and rightly motivated to break free of the appeal of sin. There’s an old sermon by Thomas Chalmers called “The expulsive power of a new affection” that describes how an old love can only truly be driven out by a newer and better love. The clip in the Church Family extra link in this week’s church family email is making pretty much the same point – watch it if you haven’t already.

    2) Put off our old self
    At the same time, as people who know God’s love and have been made new by it, as his dearly loved children (notice how its the gospel and our new identity and relationships that define us), we need to (and in God’s grace and power are able to) live out our new identity as we consciously and intentionally work at putting off the old self which no longer defines us bit does still cling to us. Its really important to remember that this isn’t the fine print: the bad thing we have to do; its part of the good news: the better thing we get to do. But notice that I said “consciously and intentionally”. Sin, especially habitual sin that has deep roots, has to be actively understood, addressed by the gospel, and then put to death with the help of all the weapons that God has given us. This will involve open communication with God (Bible reading and prayer), open communication with believers who will walk beside you (fellowship, accountability, setting an example (including an example of repentance), and most importantly grounding you deep in the gospel), and often it will also involve changing outward habits and circumstances that increase temptation to fall back into old habits.

    The key thing is to remember that these two dimensions of the Christian life (putting on & putting off) are simultaneous and ongoing. I’ll leave you with the words with which Peter concludes his second letter which capture both dimensions so well:

    “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (2 Peter 3:17-18).

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