“Will not He that raised Lazarus, already four days dead and fetid, far more easily raise you? He who poured out his precious blood for us will free us from sin. Let us not despair, brethren; nor give ourselves up for lost. For it is a grievous thing not to believe in the hope of repentance.”
-Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem (AD 315–386)
I’ve been thinking a lot about repentance.
Repentance is such a powerful thing. Making a decision, turning your back on the sins of the world and realigning yourself with God.
To me, the picture of repentance is a picture of me in an alley surrounded on both sides. In front the world, and all it offers. Behind God, and all the peace, joy and love He gives.
I can’t have it both ways. A decision has to be made and I’m the only one who can make it.
My natural instinct is to head for the world. That’s what I was born into. That’s what I know. That’s where my nature is calling me. But I choose to REPENT. I turn my back on the world and head straight into the arms of Christ, “The hope of salvation.”
Can I be honest with you? In my life, this is almost a daily decision. Every day I’m presented with an opportunity to follow the world. And some days I do, others I don’t. Thank God for grace. Thank God for the power of repentance. And thank God that I’m not alone.
Even the apostle Paul had this problem:
“19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I have discovered this principle of life — that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”
Paul knew his nature. He was honest with himself, and that drove him to live a life of repentance.
If it’s good enough for Paul, it’s good enough for me.
The daily choice to repent.