Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Heart of Repentance

Although I'm pretty sure no one is listening (or reading ), I'm going to say this out loud, I struggle with sin.  This statement wouldn't come as a shock to those closest to me, because sadly they see it.  What I'm saying is that although God reached into my life 18 years ago and gave me a new heart, there is still some work to do.  And thankfully God is doing that work, day by day.

Not surprisingly, God uses His word to do much of this work.  In addition, He uses others...even those who have been dead many years.  That was the case today. Let me explain.

I have a copy of Charles Spurgeon's daily devotional, Morning & Evening.  I don't read it every day.  Frankly, I don't even read it weekly. But today, I picked it up and read this morning's entry.  The scripture text was Joel 2:13, "Rend your heart and not your garments."  I nearly fell off the sofa.  This is exactly what I needed to hear.  I needed to be reminded about biblical repentance.  Here are Spurgeon's words that really drove the message home for me:

"The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally hard as marble: how, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: a dying Saviour's voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation."

So in my mind's eye, I looked to the cross and there was my Savior!

The prophet Joel explains why we can have confidence that our repentance will be accepted by God. Because He is "gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness." What a blessing!

So, it is not in the outward anguish or religious act of kneeling at "an old fashion alter" that signifies our turning away from sin. But rather the heart-level, Spirit induced, honest assertion that our sin is an offense to God's holiness. That we despise this offense and desire, more than anything, to abandon it.

I am thankful for how gracious God is to His children.  He is still doing a work in me.  I'm thankful too for Mr. Spurgeon who, just this morning, pointed me to the heart of repentance.

3 comments:

Thad Noyes said...

Well I'm reading! Glad to hear a good word from you today, Jon.

Jon Cyrus said...

Oh...my lone reader. Thanks. Blessings on you Thad!

Katar said...

...and I'm reading.
Merry Christmas to you and yers.