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I've been meditating on Romans 2:4 ("Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?â€ś) and 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 (â€śFor the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matterâ€ť).
As I consider this need for repentance in the midst of the undeniable fact of salvation â€śnot by worksâ€ť - of salvation freely given by God through His irresistible grace - I am moved to reflect, pray and commune with my holy and loving heavenly Father. I have come to realize that repentance is for my relationship with God and not Godâ€™s relationship with me. It is too late for me to seek God first, it is too late for me to do something to get God to notice me, to love me, for â€śGod demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for usâ€ť (Romans 5:8). God loved me and Christ paid the penalty of each and every single sin I would ever commit 2,000 years before I committed them. It is too late to repent to get God to love me, but it is not too late to repent that I might love God more and in so loving Him more fully.
This then is my prayer as I look out over the grey Russian landscape, the long Russian nights fast approaching, the snows of Siberia predicted to begin tonight. This then is my prayer as I meditate on the repentance of man and the grace of Godâ€¦
â€śOh Lord, I repent not for my salvation or to effect Your love, for You have first loved me. While I was a sinner, before I even thought or desired You, You first loved me. Not to move you to action for You have already sacrificed Your only Son for my salvation. Not to assure forgiveness, for my sins were imputed into Christ on the cross 2,000 years ago. Not for fear of Your judgment for Christ was judged for my sins while on the cross. Not as an act of atonement or to gain favor, for Christ was the propitiatory sacrifice through which my sins were forgiven and You, God, were totally satisfied. Not for fear that something bad will happen to me, for again, Christ has paid the penalty for my sin in full. All That is bad which my sins might incur from your judgment happened instead to Christ on the cross and as a result, I repent not from fear of your punitive judgment. Rather, I repent as a result of Your irresistible, sustaining and persevering grace. I repent for Your glory and because of Your love: Your perfect love for me and in response to this, as an expression of my imperfect love for You. Rather for my sake and not for Yours, for my relationship with You, not Your relationship with me. In obedience to Your desires, I freely confess my sins, knowing full well that these sins I confess and all those that I do not confess: as pertaining to the penalty, have already been paid in full and as pertaining to the relationship, have already been forgiven in full. Without regret, without looking back I repent of my sins. Believing that where there is forgiveness of these things there is no longer an offering for sin, I offer up my confessions not as an offering for sin but as an act of love to You that through my repentance and obedience, glory might be brought to Your holy name.â€ť
The great hymn "Come Ye Sinners Poor & Needy" reflects my heart this morning. It warms me and prepares me for the ministry day aheadâ€¦
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, Weak and wounded, sick and sore; Jesus ready stands to save you, Full of pity, love and power.
Refrain I will arise and go to Jesus, He will embrace me in His arms; In the arms of my dear Savior, O there are ten thousand charms. Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome, Godâ€™s free bounty glorify; True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh. Come, ye weary, heavy laden, Lost and ruined by the fall; If you tarry till youâ€™re better,
You will never come at all. View Him prostrate in the garden; On the ground your Maker lies. On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice? Lo! thâ€™incarnate God ascended, Pleads the merit of His blood: Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude. Let not conscience make you linger, Not of fitness fondly dream; All the fitness He requireth
By His mercy, I Corinthians 4:1 Rev. John S. Mahon - Siberia, Russia