Repentance Revisited: The Other Half of the Gospel
We Christians want it all. We want to experience every part of gospel goodness, right? Not so fast. As it turns out, not so much.
Sure, we like the good stuff such as forgiveness, faith, grace, reconciliation, peace, joy, and love. We love getting mercy. We receive all this and more in Christ. We can only praise God for His goodness. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.
But, what about the things that don't feel so good like the blessing of pain? Uhhh, wait a minute. How about the joy of hardship? Hmmm. What about the ongoing need for repentance? Hold on, I didn't sign on for that. We don't really want everythingl that God has for us. If we are honest, not as much as we say we do.
If it feels good, absolutely. But don't make me feel uncomfortable, or unsure, or thrown off balance. That's not loving, right? I think that's one primary reason we don't like repentance. Our pride rebels. Like the Fonz, we don't like admitting we were wrong. Confession is good for the soul but its also extremely humiliating.
Some people get disillusioned and say this Jesus thing doesn't work. It's because they are walking around with only half a gospel. They were told "just believe". And nothing in their life changed. No one ever told them they needed to repent of their sins. Well, Jesus and John the Baptist and the apostles sure did. They preached it clearly and without apology.
It seems our God-o-meter sometimes gets out of kilter and needs to be recallibrated. Adjusted. Sometimes not asked for. Actually, seldom asked for. But graciously provided. God's Word corrects faulty thinking and teaching.
Our Heavenly Father knows best and our vision is impaired. We lack perspective. We chase butterflies and pipe dreams. Nicholson would tell us we can't handle the truth.
But the Truth reigns and He can handle us. God has given us much greater capacity for all things gospel than we realize. We sell Him short. The new life comes with unlimited resources. The butterfly morphs into a soldier in full armor. Jesus is our full adequacy and sufficiency.
This transformation comes not from us but our unseen Sovereign Savior. He supplies everything. Rechargeable batteries are included. God grants the twin graces of repentance and faith. He renews humble, faith-filled, repentant hearts. We don't need to fear the truth. We must not roll with half a gospel which ends up being no gospel at all.
In the full gospel Jesus gets full credit. Everything stated therein - "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" and "that He rose on the third day according to the Scriptures" and the response God generates in the elect, "repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ", is supplied by God. The fact that "everyone who believes in His name receives forgiveness of sins" is settled forever in heaven.
The truth about us is known. Everything is laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. The truth about God can be known. When you respond in repentance and faith, God-things happen. Forgiveness flows. Reconciliation reigns. Peace pervades. All gracious gospel gifts of God in Christ.
All praise to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have been saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed in Scripture alone, for God's glory alone.
Jesus loves you!