A group of thieves broke into a building and stole computers and equipment. What they didn’t know at the time was they were stealing from a non-profit organization that helps victims of sexual assault. Once they discovered this, they felt bad for what they had done. The following night, they brought back everything they stole in a shopping cart and even included a hand written apology note which said (grammatical mistakes included), “We had no idea what we were takeing. Here your stuff back we hope that you guys can continue to make a differenence in peoples live. God bless” (ABC Local).
First of all, it’s ironic that the same people who were sinning called for God’s blessings. Aside from this, one wonders what was going through these thieves’ minds. Did they think returning the items made everything OK? Even though these robbers made a good decision in returning the stolen items, they were the ones who committed the felony in the first place. Sometimes people misunderstand what true repentance is. These thieves likely thought they were making things right and repenting of what they had done, even if they didn’t put it in so many words. However, it’s clear this was not an action of repentance, but just a rare blip on the conscience meter.
What does true repentance really look like? First, true repentance is a 180-degree turn (Acts 3:19). A person who is walking towards sin completely changes direction, putting his back to sin, and begins walking towards God. Second, true repentance is found in the person who is sickened by their actions and is committed to changing his ways (2 Corinthians 7:10). After sinning with Bathsheba, David wrote a psalm that perfectly displays this point (Psalm 51).
It’s fairly easy to feel and act “sorry” for the things we have done. Sometimes we will even go so far as to try and smooth things over with those we have wronged. However, let’s keep in mind that true repentance is about a sincere 180-degree change, feeling guilty, and being committed and determined not to repeat past mistakes. May we have the courage to repent and turn our backs to sin when the need arises.
from BP’s Fuel For Thought – Brett Petrillo – Bear Valley church of Christ – Denver, CO
This is Just-A-Minute. I once sat with a brokenhearted lady who poured out her fears and foreboding: “God will never forgive me”, she said, “I have so sinned.” I knew her as a godly Christian woman, one whom I respected and admired for her good heart and works. So why did she feel such despair? She had been sexually abused as a child and could feel nothing but bitter filthiness and self-loathing those many years later. I tried to convince her that God willingly forgives those with a contrite spirit and a broken heart such as hers. I doubt I succeeded. Yet while she struggles with presumed hopelessness, others revel in vileness and practice despicable sins with no regard and no shame. How long, O Lord, how long before You come to judge with righteous judgment those who have spent their lives in dissipation? Jesus, Savior today, but Judge tomorrow!
Guilty! If you are before a judge and jury, that is not the word you want to hear. Nevertheless, it is the word that aptly fits every one of us. Every single one of us is guilt before God. That is the theme of today’s lesson from Romans 3:19 – “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” We all freely admit that we sin and fall short of what God wants us to be. In fact, this admission has become an excuse for some! Their thinking runs like this: “Since every single one of us sins, why get concerned with sin? It is inevitable, unavoidable, inexorable. Surely God will overlook that which we are bound to do.” O foolish man! How ludicrous is your logic. You love your pet dog. You spoil and coddle. But what will you do if he contracts rabies? He must be put down. It is an imperfect metaphor, yet understand its import! There is no rationale for sinning! God shows us our sin, not that we might excuse it, but that we might see our guiltiness before Him. God teaches us His goodness, not that we might encroach upon it, but that we might cry to Him for help. Here are four reasons every mouth must be stopped and all the world is guilty:
1. The degree of man’s corruptness enforces his guiltiness.
2. The purpose of man’s creation insists on his guiltiness.
3. God’s infinite holiness demonstrates man’s guiltiness.
4. God’s infinite goodness reveals man’s guiltiness.
In view of these, it should cause us to wonder at how God allows us to even exist; to breathe His air, to live on His earth; all the while opposing His will, profaning His name, breaking His commands. Only by grasping these truths can we ever appreciate and in a measure understand that the gospel is indeed “good news.”
First of all, I want to thank Tim Lewis for giving me the idea for this post. As is often the case when one is preaching the Message of God’s Word to an audience, a grain of truth finds its way into a heart in a way that the messenger may not be aware of or even intended. In pointing out the sad truth that some have a hard time believing that God could love them because their sin is so grievous, I was encouraged to think of my own life and admit what I knew to be true, but, like everyone else, sometimes have a hard time remembering. God loves me! Thanks, Tim. (Read More)
Barabbas. This man had to live everyday with the understanding he was guilty but freed, while the innocent Jesus was innocent but crucified. Barabbas knew the extreme penalty associated with scourging and crucifixion. Barabbas never felt the nails in his flesh, but he must of felt the weight of an innocent man taking his place. Do you?