Confess and Repent
This past Sunday, Stephen Okamoto, our Youth Director, preached about the need for confession of sin. It was a godly message that was both convicting and encouraging. When it comes to dealing with our sin, confession to God and others is the first step; then comes repentance. In the devotional book Experiencing God Day By Day, Henry and Richard Blackaby write: “To repent means to stop going one direction, to turn around completely, and to go the opposite way. Repentance involves a dramatic and decisive change of course. God urges us to repent when the path we are taking leads to destruction. Repentance will save us from disastrous consequences! What a wonderful word! How comforting that the Creator loves us enough to warn us of impending danger!”
Late Saturday night, a friend and I were looking for a place to eat. Indecisive as we are, we finally decided to go to Denny’s. Happy that we had finally decided on a place, I got off the 10 freeway and headed north on Azusa. Just as I was about to get to Denny’s, he called and suggested we go to Norms instead (which was about a mile back). So I pulled into the Denny’s parking lot, turned around, and headed in the opposite direction. Now I’m not suggesting that Denny’s would’ve had disastrous consequences, but it was an example of a decisive change that took me in the opposite direction. Sometimes we get so used to our life of sin that inertia just keeps moving us in the wrong direction unless we repent. Blackaby continues:
“Our problem is that we think of repentance as something negative. When we recognize our sin, we prefer to “rededicate” ourselves to God. We may even tell others we have resolved to be more faithful to God than we were before we failed Him. Yet the Bible does not speak of rededicating oneself. It speaks of repentance! Repentance indicates a decisive change, not merely a wishful resolution. We have not repented if we continue in our sin! Repentance involves a radical change of heart and mind in which we agree with God’s evaluation of our sin and then take specific action to align ourselves with His will. A desire to change is not repentance. Repentance is always an active response to God’s Word. The evidence of repentance is not words of resolve, but a changed life.”
Jesus preached a message of repentance. In Mark 1:15, he said “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the good news.” To walk with God, to live as kingdom citizens, we must confess our sins, repent, and move in the opposite direction.