May 4 I Tuesday
1 Kings 16-18
“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.” —Psalm 32:1-2
Repentance deals with our past, as we confess our sin. Repentance deals with our present, as we are generous with our possessions, honest with our finances and content with what we have. Repentance also deals with our future, as the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit will enable us to change.
If we think the message of repentance is primarily for those who are not yet Christian, we are wrong. Do we know that in the New Testament, repentance is addressed to Christians as much as, if not more than, those those who are outside of Christ? In fact, five of the seven churches in the book Revelation are told to repent.
One of the greatest psychological needs people have is the need to have dealt with their guilt. The head of a psychiatric hospital in Scotland once shared, “If my patients could be assured of forgiveness, half of them could go home tomorrow.” This doctor estimated about 50% of those suffering some kind of mental breakdown had at their source guilt. While it is a marvellous thing to be forgiven and cleansed of our sin, the gospel is bigger than simply getting rid of our sin.
As the crowd gathered to be baptized by John the Baptist, he told them the limits of his baptism of repentance. He was only able to bring them to the point of confession of their past failure and tell them what to do about the present to produce fruit that would counteract sin. Regarding their future, this was only something Jesus could do, as John said, “I baptise you with water. But One who is more powerful than I will come… He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit…” (Luke 3:16). When Jesus went to the cross, died and rose again, He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples before His death, “Very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate [the Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). John alluded to Jesus’s gift of the Holy Spirit when he stressed, “He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” The gospel is about getting rid of our sin in order that we might live in the power of the Holy Spirit of God.
True repentance is not just a human effort. We need the power and enabling of the Holy Spirit to change our thinking so that we live according to what is true and right in Christ. Is there something we need to bring to God in repentance today?
Prayer: Lord God, I come before You with humility, repenting of my sin. Grant me the power and the enabling of Your Holy Spirit to change my thinking so I can live according to what is true and right according to You. Thank You, Lord.