“I have born punishment; I will not offend any more; teach me what I do not see; if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more….”
Wild, tangled hair. A cloak made of some rough and itchy-looking material tied with a belt around his waist.
His first words were, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2)
At first, the toads and crickets, and whatever animals lived along the river bank, seemed to be his only audience. But that quickly changed!
People from the capitol and surrounding villages and towns flocked to see this strange man with the powerful message.
For it was a powerful message. “Repent!” Why did that resonate with so many people?
Soon after, this man’s cousin – his younger cousin by six months – also began to draw crowds. This time, up in Galilee. His message? The same!
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 4:17)
This message was short and to the point. “Repent” means to turn from your ways to a new way of living. And this is a message that touched people’s hearts. They were yearning for a new way of living, a new way of life. They lived in an oppressed society, ruled over by an authoritarian and ruthless empire. Who wouldn’t want a new life?
This message resonates no less today. Are you looking for a new life? A new way of living? Do you need a change? Are you ready for your life to take off, to become the adventure you always dreamed it could or should be?
I have good news for you! This is exactly what Jesus came to give you!
And it all starts with repentance.
In chapter 34 of the Book of Job, Elihu shows – by the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit – the way of repentance.
While it looks like a 3-Step Plan, I don’t mean to imply that it is a step-by-step process. Not at all! In fact, it is a way of life – a life that Jesus came to give you!
Repentance starts, and maybe this surprises you, with the Holy Spirit and not with you!
You are a sinner (and so am I!) and cannot get to this new life on your own. We are all conceived and born in sin. That is, “by nature [we are] spiritually blind, dead, and an enemy of God, as the Scriptures teach (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 8:7; Ephesians 2:8-9; and 1 Corinthians 12:3); therefore, ‘I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him’” (Explanation of Luther’s Small Catechism, ©1986 Concordia Publishing House, p 150).
The Holy Spirit uses the Law of God (the Ten Commandments) to prompt repentance in us.
And this life of repentance looks like this according to the Book of Job: Stop offending people, be taught, and strive to not sin anymore.
It starts with verse 31: “I will not offend anymore….”
This is a recognition, a realization, that our sins are an offense. They are an offense to other people, especially when we sin against them.
But they are truly an offense to God. God is perfect. God is holy. And God created us to be perfect and holy. But because of our sinful human nature, we offend God’s perfection and holiness. Repentance is realizing this and wanting to stop.
Verse 32 says, “Teach me….”
This is a willingness to learn from God. Who better to learn how to stop sinning and how to live a life free of sin than God? Repentance is putting yourself under God’s tutelage. We learn from God how to live because he is the Author of life itself!
Verse 32 also says, “I will do it no more….”
This is a resolve to live a life of not sinning. I know, I know! Nothing is easier said than done! And while I don’t think we can actually get to this point in this lifetime, the Scriptures do tell us to try!
And I think we can get better at this. It is like getting to the point of being able to lift 300 pounds worth of weights.
When I started lifting weights in earnest a little over a year ago, I could barely lift a 45-pound bar. Now, a year and a month later, I’m lifting over 100 pounds 8 times (repetitions) 3 days a week!
When Jesus said that he came that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10), he meant a life lived in repentance to the glory of God.
I pray you and I can do this and will do this by the power of the Holy Spirit!
©2017 True Men Ministries