Weekly Devotional 6-25-18 Repentance that is Meaningful
In talking with a friend the other day about repentance he recited a prayer that many of his faith recite ritually believing that such a recital brings forgiveness of sin and restoration to a right standing before God. We talked about this for some time and agreed that such a prayer, recited no matter how many times and when prayed without sincerity, may bring a sense of relief from guilt but does little to bring actual forgiveness or restoration into a right standing with God. A sincere prayer of repentance will result in one turning from walking after the lust of their flesh to serving God. A prayer of repentance that is not sincere will not lead to a change of heart. Consider for instance a parable of Jesus that dealt with this very issue.
“10Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14).
The publican who prayed from the heart was sorrowful over his sin, was sincere, and sought forgiveness. A change had been wrought in this man’s heart (soul); not so with the Pharisee. That the publican went to his house justified, was proof of saving repentance. The Pharisee, on the other hand, in blindness to his
depraved nature, saw no need of changing his practices. In his own eyes he was justified by not living like other persons, i.e. extortionists, the unjust, adulterers, or as a tax collector. He was puffed up in his so-called good works. He fasted twice a week and tithed of all that he had but in actuality his heart was set against God.
Lord, help us to see sin for what it is, bring to light any and all sin that may be in our lives. Create in us a repentant heart.
Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man