Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Repent. . .

Repent is a word heard less frequently today than ever before.  In fact, the whole idea of repentance is offensive.  It presumes that you are doing something wrong, something for which you need to repent, and something with consequences dangerous enough not to be ignored.  Who of us wants to hear a call to repentance?

Some insist that repent is a word used before we come to faith and not so much after we are born again in baptism and believe the promise of the Father in His Son.  I wish it were so.  I wish that it were so that we could put that word behind us and move on.  I wish that our hearts were not troubled by sinful thoughts, words, and deeds that continue even after we are born again in the waters of baptism.  I wish that we no longer folded before the glitter of temptation or doubted what we did not find agreeable or resisted the impulse of the Spirit working in us to make us holy.  But I know my heart.  I hope you know yours.

Repent. . .  take a gander at the commandments and think through Luther's simple explanations.  It may seem at first glance we are not doing so bad but that is only if we see through a looking glass more what we want than what is real.  We make words mean what we want them to mean and we have done a rather fine job of redefining our favorite foibles and making them not to be sin.  We excuse our sins with context and we justify those same sins with context -- all in a vain attempt to make us, our words, and our deeds invisible in the mirror of God's law.

  • Repent. . . You are a child of God by baptism and faith and yet you find it hard to live like one.   
  • Repent. . . You know what is good and what is evil and yet you seem to forget the difference.
  • Repent. . . You still wander in the shadows instead of living in the Light that is Christ.
  • Repent. . . You may not despise God's Word but you find reasons not to hear it.
  • Repent. . . You have God's Word but it gathers dust on the shelf while you pursue other things.
  • Repent. . . You love hearing of forgiveness but the call to be holy makes you cringe.
  • Repent. . . You have so much and yet you begrudge giving God even a little.
  • Repent. . . You do not pray as you could and you pray to get what you want instead of to trust the good and gracious will of the Father.
  • Repent. . . You live in the moment and try to forget that you are dust and to dust you shall return, preferring to believe that you can find your best life now, instead.
  • Repent. . . Your voice cannot be silenced when speaking of your passions, your team, your party, or your opinions but you barely whisper in witness to Christ and Him crucified.
Repent. . . return to the Lord for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  Repent. . . for the Lord does not seek your death but your life.  Repent. . . for the grace of God is greater than the trespass and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all our sins.   Repent. . . for the waiting Father has sent forth His only Son to bring His sinful sons and daughters home to Him again.  Repent. . . for the call is borne in love to a people who, even in their sin, are esteemed worthy of His most precious gift -- His only Son.  Repent. . . for though you are dust and destined to return to dust, God has determined to manifest His life even in dust.  Repent. . . for the Lord has redeemed you, a lost and condemned sinner, purchased and won you to be His own, destined you to live under Him in His kingdom now and forever in the world to come.

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