Sunday, June 28, 2009
Grim Fairy Tales 3.
Have you repented? This is often heard from Christians when confronted with another Christian concerned about his or her sin. What qualifies as repentance? The stock answer in many circles is “Are you sorry I mean really sorry for your sin?” ”Are you going to stop sinning in that way?” The answers to both those questions is more than likely not. How can this be? The first one forces one to introspection. This takes our eyes off Jesus and his one time atonement for our sin as the objective reason for justification in the first place. The second takes our eyes of Jesus who in his active obedience fulfilled all the laws requirements for us. Both these are received thru faith not in return for working up enough sorrow or promising to never do it again. This indeed is a grim fairy tale which can either lead to much grief or faith killing self righteousness.
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. ESV
We see here that self generated grief produces death. The granting of repentance is from God as well as the salvation is of God alone. So what does this repentance look like?
Luke 15:4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. ESV
So when Jesus finds the lost person he carries him rejoicing to his fold. That is true repenting seeing Jesus as God and Saviour not the idol of one‘s thoughts. One thing that is obvious is that the joy in heaven is always related to what God has done. Nothing is said about the lost sheep whether he was worried or sad about his condition. Actually he was dead in trespasses and sin The Good Shepherd gives him life making him part of the Kingdom of God through his gifts of word and Sacrament.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen. †