The First and Last Word
"... for in you the fatherless find compassion." (v. 3)
Repentance is commonly thought of as simply an acknowledgment and confession of sin. But the repentance God desires of us is not only contrition for particular sins; it is a daily attitude, an ongoing perspective. Martin Luther started the Reformation when he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle church at Wittenburg, and the very first of his statements read thus: "When our Lord Jesus Christ said 'repent' He willed that the entire life of believers be one of repentance." Note that -- "the entire life of believers." Repentance is not a one-time act, it is a process -- the process by which we see ourselves day by day as we really are: sinful, needy, dependent people.
It is the process by which we see God as He is: awesome, majestic and holy. Repentance is the ultimate surrender of self. The call to repentance is one of the most consistent themes of the Bible. We must be aware that no matter how radical our repentance at conversion, sinful tendencies remain in varying degrees. Constantly we need to recognize that our carnal nature may surface at any time to disagree with God. We will never be able in move into a deep relationship with God unless we maintain an attitude of repentance. "Every bit of growth in the Christian life," said one theologian, "is based on the re-enactment of the original redemptive occurrence." By that he meant that the way we came into the Christian life is the way we continue in it -- by repentance. Repentance is the first word of the gospel -- and the last.
Thank You, Father, for spelling out for me the truth that repentance is not merely an act but an attitude. From now on and by Your grace may this forever be the attitude of my soul. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What did Paul urge the Romans to do?
2. What was Paul's prayer for the Thessalonians?