Who Needs to Repent? (Lent 14, 2016)

Who needs to repent?  It’s easy to point the finger at others instead of looking in the mirror.  You see, it’s not just pagans, infidels, and those we decide to label as lost souls who need to repent. It’s all of us.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Thought 14Many of us suffer from the Mary Poppins Effect, measuring ourselves with our own tape measure which proclaims us as “practically perfect in every way.” But close enough (even for a cigar) isn’t really all that close.

You’re either perfect or you’re not… and trust me, you’re not.  I’m not either, but you probably already figured that out.

Yeah, even if you’re a Christian. It’s the old “Not Perfect, Just Forgiven” concept.

So, even among the forgiven, repentance is in order. Paul tells Timothy this about those in the community of faith (in case you didn’t catch it, it’s IN the community of faith): 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Yes, one look at Christianity in America and you’ll conclude that proclaiming oneself as Christian or forgiven is often claimed as cover so one can rebel with fire of hell insurance.  We cannot just point our fingers at others–in and out of the Church– and pick a speck out of their eyes (Matthew 7:1-5).   It’s not just Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders or Kim Jong-un or Vladimir Putin or El Chapo Guzman who need to repent.

Who needs to repent?

It’s Billy Graham and the Pope and Dr. James Dobson and the pastor of your church and yes, you and me.  We’re as guilty as the rest.  Jesus tells the Church at Ephesus this: Revelation 2:5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Give it up for Lent: Thinking repentance is only for other people.

Questions for Isaiah 53:6, 2 Tim 4:3-4, and Revelation 2:5:

  1. In Isaiah 53:6, 21 out of 28 words point to the universal nature of human sin. Identify those and the 7 which point to God’s remedy for that.
  2. Jesus is not just “practically perfect in every way.” He is perfect period. How does that explain why He is God’s provision for human forgiveness?
  3. In 2 Tim 4:3-4, who is the center of their universe? How does this warp human understanding of a need to repent?
  4. In Revelation 2:5, a church that does not love and that does not love the truth fails to be a light to the world. What does Jesus say is the consequence of that?
  5. In order to rekindle our repentance, what must we do?  Who needs to repent?

who needs to repentReKindle is the 2016 Lenten devotional series from Seminary Gal.

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Acknowledging that former years’ devotional series remain popular, Be Still and Know that I AM God can be obtained through the archives beginning in March 2014 and With Christ in the Upper Room  is archived beginning February 18, 2015.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on February 25, 2016

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