Dangerous (un)Repentance

“I fell again. Why can’t I be free of this?? Surely other Christians don’t sin as much as I do. I must really be exhausting to God. I feel so dirty and this constant repenting feels so cliche. I know He’ll never stop loving me, but honestly.. He’s got to be tired of forgiving me. ”

Not surprisingly, you’re not the only one to have thought these things at one point or another. While not sinful in nature, these doubts can certainly lead to two dangerous actions: 

  1. To cease confession out of embarrassment, shame, or disbelief that God will actually forgive you. 
  2. To confess initially but then continue to do so for the same past failure over and over because you don’t feel forgiven or think you must convince God that your confession is real.

These reactions place you exactly where Satan wants you: crippled to your continual spiritual growth. He can’t have your soul, but he wants the same thing he wanted from Eve back in the garden: your disbelief in God’s promises. 

It’s not humility that says “I’m too far gone and dirty for God.”

It’s pride that believes your sin to be more powerful than God’s ability to forgive.
This makes Jesus out to be a liar when He continually forgave those whom we would have humanly considered unworthy of His love. (Luke 5:20, 7:48, Matthew 9:5, Mark 2:5)

Jesus in fact rejoiced in the fact that no sinner was too sinful for His cleansing. His mantra was fresh water to the parched world: “I didn’t come to offer repentance to the righteous, but rather to the sinners.” Jesus found great joy in honoring those who would humble themselves and accept His grant of grace that took the form of a clean slate before their Creator.

We often think that God wouldn’t want forgive us and must get tired of doing so because we expect Him to respond like we would.

Thankfully, God’s love is not defined by our lovelessness.
God wouldn’t have commanded repentance over 100 times in the Bible if He weren’t serious about His desire to forgive sin. There’s no cap, no limit, no gauge for sinners too dark and vile to accept. God places an emphasis on repentance because He knows how desperately we need it, and He honestly desires community with us. How tragic then, when we stop asking for this simple yet imperative gift of grace He so freely offers.

Yet is there ever a time that repentance is unhealthy? Actually yes.

When you find yourself repetitively confessing for the same act of sin, your repentance has now become a means to obtain personal righteousness before God based on your work. God never called us to repent enough till we feel “not guilty” or to mull over our sin till we feel bad enough as a means to invoke God’s pity or grace.

Friend! You are not your own savior! Your sins were paid for 2000 years ago on a bloody cross and no more must you dwell on the shame and guilt of confessed sin since you are not the one paying for it!

If we live trying to pay for our own sins through “saying sorry enough” we are living, Paul says, as if Christ died in vain. (Gal2:21)

You don’t have to feel “bad enough” to apply for forgiveness, or even “good enough” after confessing to be sure that it worked. You’re not the one saving yourself, so you’re not the one forgiving yourself, and therefore it’s not about what you feel but rather it’s about believing that your honesty is met with a pardon and right standing before God. Not because you confessed enough, but because JESUS IS ENOUGH.

See, repentance really isn’t about you. It’s about Jesus’ righteousness and God’s grace. Not you.

Yes, don’t cease to confess your sins to God daily. Let God’s promises stand as He left them. Trust His love. But also, don’t wallow in your sins. Confess it, forsake it, and view yourself with the righteousness of Christ with which God views you. 

Shake off Satan’s doubts and rise up daily in the new identity that God has placed on you, and claim the pledge that a fellow sinner penned:

“forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

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