emilynisch

Repentance (More Light, Less Dark) – a Response to Acts 2:37-41

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Today’s section in Acts starts with a story about some number of people becoming believers. They see how they’re deserving of judgment and are struck with the fear of God – they ask what they can do. It’s pretty amazing that they can ask this. They must have some sense that there is something they can do, that if Peter is talking to them about where they have been in their life of rejecting God, there must be an “and then”; there must be hope at the end of the tunnel. Maybe they don’t even know what that hope means for each of them personally, but the only thing left to them is to ask. In a moment of awareness of your own sinfulness, all that’s left is to appeal to God. There’s no room for excuses or scheming; all that’s left is to ask God “what can I do?”.

As I read the devotional for today I also started thinking about my experience of repentance as a believer. It’s something God’s had to teach me is normal and healthy. It’s what allows us to grow and be changed by God. What’s been especially important for me to learn is that I don’t need to scheme or make excuses. When I try to do those things I’m rejecting God’s offer of growth in my life; I’m saying ‘no’ to turning away from and rejecting the darkness of sin in myself which also mean I’m rejecting the light that God wants to birth in me. I think that’s what humility is: standing before God without excuses, being aware of your position of need and weakness and asking, “what can I do?”.
Repentance really is difficult. It really is dying. But what’s good is that it’s sin that’s dying; it’s darkness. And that takes faith. It takes faith in Jesus to believe that when you reject a part of you that you’ve known for a long time, Jesus will be there just around the corner offering hope and light and more and more of himself. It takes a conviction (that you’re worthy of God’s judgment and have no hope on your own), and a knowledge that there’s no other way out.

As I’ve grown as a believer repentance has become more and more a part of my life – because I’ve become more and more convinced of God’s love for me and desire to fight with me against my sin in order to be more and more like him, and richer and richer in everything that’s his. Repentance also has some joy in it, because it’s an offer to experience and live in more of God – which is deeply wonderful and worth rejecting the world for.

I want to end by encouraging anyone who’s a believer who hasn’t been baptized to be baptized! Growing as a believer means living in community. God doesn’t intend for us to mature alone – each piece of the body of Christ needs to help each other up. So – be baptized; publicly make that commitment, so we can each build each other up and help each other when we would stumble on our own. 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  1. My favorite part was the end of the second paragraph. It helped me to see the face of dying to self–a concept not worked into my thinking yet.
    Also, I’d never realized repentance is an act of faith. That seems helpful to recognize–I’ve hesitated to repent before because my old way was so familiar and I wasn’t trusting that the new way was life. Useful for recognizing those opportunities to use your faith.

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