Wednesday, 5 December 2018

True Repentance

Scripture:  2 Corinthians 7 v 9 - 12: "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 
 10  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
 11  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
 12  Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you."

God has a plan for our lives, a divine plan that makes us all equal.  All have sinned, all must repent, all must be born again, all must be baptized into one Body, Jesus Christ.

In the New Creation we are all equal.  Galatians 3 v 27 - 28: "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
 28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

There is no class system in the New Creation for we are all one in Christ Jesus.  There is no nationalities, no slaves and masters, not even gender!  

This is why when we have godly sorrow in repentance we clear our hearts, minds and emotions of irregularities.  It has made us careful not to transgress again as we become indignant against our sin nature and fear falling back into those old ways.

We take revenge on Satan, our enemy by withstanding his temptations.  We have a zeal for God, a strong desire to worship and serve Him in Spirit and in truth.  This advances His plan for our individual and corporate lives.

Philemon v 16 - 19: "Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
 17  If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
 18  If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;
 19  I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides."

This was Paul's letter to his friend and fellow-labourer concerning Onesimus, an escaped slave, who helped Paul, and got born again.  He is sending him back to his master, Philemon, as a brother, no longer a slave.

How do we treat our fellow-labourers in Christ?  Some of them have been slaves to alcohol or drugs, or sex and porn.  We need to lift up our family and encourage them to walk the narrow way.  We need to warn them if they start to slip back into the abyss of sin.

Like Jesus commended the good Samaritan for taking care of a man who had been beaten and robbed, binding his wounds, delivering him to nursing care, paying money for a stranger in trouble.  These days we walk to the other side of the road to avoid becoming embroiled in such unsavoury incidents.

What we do to others will be done to us.  If we bless we will be blessed.  If we turn aside, the Lord will look away when we need Him most.  So obey the golden rule and do as you would be done by.  It just takes an attitude adjustment and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.

If we have truly repented and borrowed for our past behaviour, it makes sense to go the extra mile and ease the burdens of others.  If we are not financially able to help, donate time, visit the sick and pray for them, or make a meal for them.

An excerpt from Rees Howells, Intercessor, chapter 6 illustrates this perfectly.  Jim Stakes was a former drunkard the Holy Spirit wanted Rees to win to the Lord.
That very evening there was a man at the door to see him. Rees never had a greater surprise. It was Jim Stakes! He had come a distance of two miles because, he said, that while he was working in the mine that morning, at ten o’clock Rees Howells had “stood before” him. It was at that very hour in the morning that Jim Stakes had “stood before” Rees, and the burden of prayer had come on him! 

“Are you in trouble?” Rees asked him. He was indeed. He was two years behind in his rent, and that morning the bailiffs had marked his furniture and were coming to fetch it. Two years’ rent! That was a lot of money. 

After a moment’s hesitation Mr. Howells said, “I’ll give you one year’s rent—and I have a friend who, I believe, will give you the other half.” He went upstairs to fetch the money, but before he reached the top, the Holy Spirit spoke to him. “Didn’t you tell Me this morning that you would give all you had to save him? Why are you only giving him half? Did not the Saviour pay all your debt and set you free?” 

Rees Howells turned and ran down the stairs and said to the man, “I’m sorry I told you I would only give one year’s rent. I am to give you two years’ rent, and all you need beside. I am to deliver you in such a way that the devil can’t use this situation any longer to get at you.” 

“The moment I said that,” Mr. Howells declared later, “the joy of heaven came down. It was as if something snapped in my nature, and it became more blessed to give than to receive.”

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, True Repentance means a completely different lifestyle of true freedom to be the people who are worthy of the Son of God.  You desire that we be like Him, the firstborn of the New Creation.  Change us, O Lord, let us love till it hurts, pray till it hurts, give till it hurts for then it's real. In Jesus' name.  Amen.