I know this is not the first, nor will it be the last time I mention repentance. It is integral in becoming and being a Christian. Likewise, it is essential in entering, abiding in, and advancing the kingdom of God. This week my view of repentance was redirected. Basically, I repented concerning my view of repentance.
I was listening to a sermon by Steve Schell, a Foursquare pastor in the Seattle area, and a friend and mentor or mine. In the midst of his talk, he mentioned repentance almost as an aside to the point he was making, but it stopped me in my tracks. He said, “Real repentance isn’t about the past. It’s about the future.” As he continued in his comments, he explained that forgiveness is not at issue with repentance, but a changed heart and mind pointed in Jesus’ direction, following him by the leading of the Spirit.
If being a disciple is being a learner, then repentance is crucial to the learning process. Those who are “always right” seldom learn anything new. If we believe that our sin is atoned for by the cross of Christ and his resurrection, then forgiveness is already ours. We need to align ourselves with that truth and understand that repentance sets our future course in Jesus and his kingdom. With this in mind, I recall a passage we read in Philippians this week.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6, NLT)
May we be open to the redirecting of the Spirit and eager to learn at the feet of Jesus, so that as disciples of Jesus, we might glorify our Father in heaven.
Grace and peace,