Friday, June 15, 2012

Repentance Part 1

 I read the above picture a couple of weeks ago and it got me thinking about repentance. 
Have you, or someone close to you, ever kept going to the alter for the same thing over and over?  That sin we just can't seem to conquer keeps showing it's ugly head and tripping us up?  So down to the alter we go, apologizing to the Lord, only to find ourselves right back in that same situation again.  Yeah...we've all been there at one time or another.  So what works?  Obviously not apologizing.  It takes repentance from that sin.  True, full repentance.
But what is repentance exactly?   
Acts 9:35 describes repentance as turning away from sin, to the Lord.  Some argue that it is changing your mind, not turning away.  Well, I say it's turning around.
Acts 8:22 describes repentance as repenting and seeking forgiveness.  And Acts 15:3 describes it as conversion.  
There are several kinds of repentance.  But I focused on the unreal and the true.
Let's look at an unreal repentance, shall we?  In Exodus 9:27-35 we see the story of Pharaoh and how he "repented" and made a deal with Moses.  Pharaoh would let the people of Israel go if Moses would get the hail and thundering to stop.  Moses kept his end of the bargain, but Pharaoh?  No way.  Verse 34 says, "And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he SINNED YET MORE, and hardened his heart, he and his servants."  Now, reading over that verse, something else jumped out at me.  Just after it says that Pharaoh sinned yet more, it says, "...and hardened his heart..."  God doesn't put things in the Bible just for our amusement.  Every word is from Him for a reason.  Which leads me to believe that there is a lesson in those words.  The more we continue in a sin that God convicts us over, the harder our hearts become toward that sin.  Making it easier to harden our hearts to other sins that will keep us from growing in the Lord.
True repentance can be seen in Acts 9:1-20, when Saul was in route to slaughter Christians.  In a split moment he was stricken blind and God spoke to him to change his ways.  When God gets our attention concerning sin in our lives, we better listen.  Now, Saul was struck blind.  But because of his obedience, God sent Ananias to heal his blindness.
This made me think how we are often blinded by sin before God gets hold of us.  And if we will listen to the man of God that God has put in place for us, God will loose those scales of sin that blind us and use the man of God to help us see the error of our ways, which will put us on the right path to living right.