Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent (Revelation 3:19, esv).
Do you think of yourself as a liar? Because—even though most of us won’t volunteer to be labeled that way—the fact is that every time in life you’ve committed a sin, you were lying to yourself. And believing every word of it.
“The Spirit of God wants to rush to you and release you from the sin that has held you.”
And that’s where Satan wants to keep you. Believing lies. Destroying you. Once he’s lured you into sin by using your own fallen logic to deceive you, he wants to push you even farther down that road, away from repentance, and away from resolution. He wants you believing the idea that once you’ve sinned, taking responsibility for what you’ve done is totally unnecessary, unreasonable, and uncalled for.
But that’s not what the Bible says. That’s not what the truth says. That’s not what the Spirit of God says, who wants to rush to you and release you from the sin that has held you.
So before you start leaning toward believing any more faulty rationales, lean in for a moment toward some of the many good reasons that repentance makes all the sense in the world.
1) Because God is pursuing you. You wouldn’t be here reading this today if God in His providence hadn’t wanted to use it as a way to steer you back to His side where you belong. “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance” (Romans 2:4). And if He’s going to such lengths to take you there, shouldn’t you stop resisting Him?
2) Because God is speaking to you through people. God’s Word is living and powerful enough that, regardless of the messenger, its message can always strike a chord. “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Listen to what you’re hearing, and don’t discount the fact that you’re hearing it.
3) Because you know you are prone to being blindly self-righteous. Trust me, I know—from times when I thought I was so right. Every hour you spend blaming someone else, making a case about how you have nothing to apologize for, will only end in grief and misery. Jesus warned the self-righteous Pharisees not to say, “We see,” because merely saying the words confirmed “your guilt remains” (John 9:41). Repentance is the right answer, especially when you’re fixated on asking the wrong questions.
4) Because you know there is no excuse for disobeying God. “If I had not come and spoken to them,” Jesus said, “they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22). Despite every rationale, there is never a defense for the things we do in opposition to God’s Word. Save your breath, and stop living the life He’s already saved you from.
5) Because you know the consequences of your sin will be painful. “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). It always does. It always will. God in His mercy may hold back the consequences for a while, but they are piling up and will eventually come pouring in. Only repentance can break that dam and move you forward toward cleanup. “Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin” (Ezekiel 18:30).
Hear the good sense in these sentences: “I have no one to blame but myself. Nothing that anyone did justifies my own failure. I take total responsibility.”
Let’s stop listening to our own excuses and believing our own lies. And let’s start recounting the many good reasons to repent.
Lord, thank You for always speaking truth. Thank You for giving me Your Word as a reliable, never-changing, totally proven guide for living. Show me how to use it more and more so I’m less and less susceptible to the lies I’m prone to believe. I repent today, right now, of all my sin, one by one. Lead me by Your light into the true freedom of living with a clean conscience, in Jesus’ name, amen.