Repent of What?

God wants us to repent of our sins and live according to His righteousness, as revealed through Jesus Christ.  What is a sin?  Some are more obvious than others.

Obvious sins are those generally condemned by any respectable society. These include murder, theft, adultery, lying, cheating – ten commandment kind of stuff. 

Jesus took the ten commandments to a whole new level, however, saying that it was not enough to conform to them in our outward behavior.  Rather, we must conform our thoughts – even our most secret thoughts – to them as well.  In this regard, He said the commandment against murder translated to not even hating someone.  Needless to say, this raises the bar for us considerably.  In one litany of sins of the heart, He included coveting, sensuality, envy, sexual immorality, slander, pride, foolishness, and – as if to stress the point with a catchall category- evil thoughts.  Therefore, any departure from a pure heart is sin.   

Even in spite of this, someone in our day will ask, “What about homosexuality?”  Of course, homosexuality is a sin.  All sexual promiscuity is sin – even in thoughts.  Sex is righteous between a man and a woman in the lifelong commitment of marriage.  Everyone knows this but not everyone is willing to admit it – even to themselves. 

Someone else will ask about abortion.  Of course, abortion is wrong.  Again, everyone knows this…no matter how many arguments they may make to the contrary. 

The reason so many people are outspoken on the subject of what they call sexual freedom is that they are looking to receive from others what they know they can never receive from God: approval for sinful behavior.  Alas, many in society are willing to grant it but it is merely mutual reinforcement of wishful thinking: “I’ll say you’re right if you’ll say I’m right; let’s call everyone else self-righteous and hypocritical.”  Even the inhabitants of ancient Sodom tried to shame Lot in this way when he was unsupportive of their sinful activities.

So far, however, we have only talked about the sins that are more obvious.  What are the sins that are less so?  These include the sins –  whether of omission or commission – which are circumstantially based.  For example, if we see someone in need and we have the ability to meet the need, but do not do so, then we have sinned.  Our guidance in this regard can be described as follows:  to him who knows the right thing to do but doesn’t do it, it’s a sin.  In other words, there may not be a law or commandment telling us what to do, but we are still sinning when we resist the guidance of our conscience.

Ultimately, we may know that sin is anything Jesus would not do.  Thus, we have a more than abundant answer to the question, “Repent of what?”

Conscience is the part of us that tells right from wrong.  It’s how we identify sin.  However, our conscience can become sick when we disregard it.  That’s why we need God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in our conscience in order to heal it and restore it to its full original purpose.  We receive the Holy Spirit when we believe in Jesus.  He comes to tell us more about Jesus and open up to us the way to live completely for God – whether you are a truck driver or a cook.

Repentance doesn’t mean quitting or changing your job.  It means becoming a truck driver for God or a cook for God – instead of for yourself.  Know that every sin you have committed will be forgiven whenever you confess it before God.  The only sin for which there is no forgiveness is speaking against the very Holy Spirit who is leading you to do right.

Repent of your sins and enjoy life with God.

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