The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Truth, as illuminated and confirmed by the Scriptures and the Spirit of God, leads to our personal 'I will be sorry for my sin' in terms not first of emotion, but of a willed determination to repent."
Has any human heart ever been sorrowful enough for sins committed?
The answer lies in the cost necessary to make possible sin's forgiveness.
"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (I Peter 3:18).
How could our contrition ever match the measure of our Lord's sacrifice that made possible our redemption? Impossible, both now and forever. Indeed, the cumulative emotional sorrow of the entire human race throughout history would never be enough to adequately feel regret for sins committed against the God whose Son "bore our sins" and was "made to be sin for us" (I Peter 2:24; II Corinthians 5:21).
Scripture nevertheless calls us to "godly sorrow… that "worketh repentance" (II Corinthians 7:10). Knowing, therefore, that we can never be adequately penitent does not mean we neglect doing so to whatever measure possible. The Psalmist helps us here, "I will be sorry for my sin" (Psalm 38:18). Note he does not declare, "I will feel sorry for my sin." David rather made the choice to be sorry, based not on emotion, but on the truth that leads to a volitional determination. Moreover, he did so with far less access to the light of God than we have through the complete Bible and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Born again believers in the Lord Jesus possess the means not only for joy, but for proper sorrow in times when we sin against God. Truth, as illuminated and confirmed by the Scriptures and the Spirit of God, leads to our personal "I will be sorry" in terms not first of emotion, but of a willed determination to repent. "I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me" (Psalm 51:3).
What truth leads believers to genuine sorrow and repentance if we sin? Certainly, the One who confessed, "I am… the truth" provides our clearest answer (John 14:6). Consideration of the Lord Jesus - who He is for us, and what He has done for us - cannot fail to foster real contrition in the hearts of those who know Him. We cannot presently see Him, nor can we view the prints on His hands, feet, and side suffered in His atoning death for our sins. However, we can remember the Bible's narrative of the cross of Calvary, being sure the Holy Spirit directs us thereunto. We can also affirm our Lord's mediatorial work in Heaven, where "He ever liveth to make intercession" for us (Hebrews 7:25). We can recall that Christ's redeeming work was so complete in atoning for our sins that God does not place them on our account, but rather relates to us as a loving Father in times when we fail Him (Romans 4:8). We can remember our acceptance with Him as His sons and daughters is never in question because His beloved Son cried out on the cross, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46; Ephesians 1:6). These, and so many other truths we can bring to mind as the Holy Spirit brings them to heart. Godly sorrow will surely follow, a contrition far deeper than emotion, although feelings may well follow true repentance. "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13).
The truth of Scripture, illuminating by the Holy Spirit the truth of the Savior - this leads to godly sorrow and true repentance. We were not at Calvary in person. We can go there in the pages of the Bible, however. In times of sin, the Holy Spirit leads us there in the journey of heart that also escorts us to the Heavenly place where the King of grace awaits our approach with forgiveness, restoration, and renewed joy, as made possible by the sorrow He knew long ago…
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Weekly Memory Verse
In the day when I cried Thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.