As Christians we are called to repent of our sins, and to trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins. In conversations I've had with people there has been some confusion on this and so I wanted to take this time to address it. There are those who claim to be Christian yet they are unrepentant of certain sins in their life and so the question if they really are a Christian comes up. Now this is a complicated subject because we are dealing with people's hearts and because even Christians who repent of their sins still find themselves caught up in sin. There is also the aspect of salvation through faith alone that must be considered. So in order to deal with the least amount of confusion I will start first from salvation. We are saved by the grace of God through the power of the Holy Spirit which works in our heart upon us hearing the gospel of being forgiven through the death of Jesus. It regenerates our hearts, creating in us a sense of guilt over our sin, a love for God, and a faith and trust in this gospel and Jesus our Lord and savior. Without the Holy Spirit first regenerating the heart of a person it is impossible for them to truly believe in Jesus Christ. When a person becomes a believer they are given a proper understanding of their sin and are grieved by it. This grief might be that of understanding how they have offended God, but it could also be a grief of them being eternally separated from God. Nevertheless, it is this guilt and grief over sin, that is the beginning of repentance. What repentance is, is a changing of the mind and a turning away from sin. You no longer desire to sin, even if you at times will have a desire to sin. No longer are you a slave to sin even though you will still sin. Repentance is making war on sin. It is going to battle against the old man you once were every single day and fighting in the power of the Holy Spirit. Repentance is loving your neighbor more and more and focusing upon the Cross of Christ as we learn day after day that we will lose this battle, yet we have victory in Jesus. Now it is important to keep in mind that none of this is done in your own power, but is done through the Holy Spirit working in you. It is not your own will that causes you to love more, but that is the fruit of the Spirit. So is the struggle against actively pursuing sin while having faith and trusting Jesus that He has forgiven you. From this perspective we can shift gears to unrepentant sin, and more importantly why it matters in terms of one's salvation. One mistake not to make is thinking about unrepentant sin the same as un-confessed sin. It is good and biblical for Christians to confess our sins. We should confess them to the Lord and to each other within the church body, however it is not proper doctrine to say that one must confess all their sins or they are unsaved. To think like this would put one in the same company as Martin Luther before he truly understood grace by faith alone in that he would go back to confession several times a day due to sins that he had not confessed. Repentance instead is a sign that one is saved. It shows that one cares about their sins, and how they offend God and affect other people. This is why any person professing Christ yet being unrepentant of their sin should examine their salvation and turn to Christ. Repentance is the evidence of salvation just like the fruit of the Spirit. If a professing believer does think what they are doing is wrong and they refuse to stop it, and fight against it, that is when there is a case of unrepentant sin. Now I hear some of you saying, "What about that verse in the Bible where Paul talks about food sacrificed towards idols?" It is true that there are some things that we are given some freedom on, and we are not to use this freedom to give into the desires of the flesh, and Paul talks about this clearly in Galatians. The works of the flesh vs the fruit of the Spirit. Our righteousness is not found in our ability to keep the law, but in Christ, and as such we should have no problem admitting when we are weak in the law, and trusting that through Jesus Christ we have been forgiven. The Christian that has true faith has no reason to try to work around the law, or bypass the law, or remove the law. The true Christian can look at the full law and see how they have failed to keep it, yet trust that in Christ they will be right before God. As such, Christians strive to be obedient to the word of God out of love for God and love for others. This is Christian life and what repentance looks like. What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below and let me know.
Here you can read various thoughts and discussions that come from the mind of our Pastor