“O God of grace, I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no tool to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace I am always receiving change of clothing, for You always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, Father, forgive me, and You are always bringing out the best robe.” (Puritan prayer)
God grants repentance
“Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses (return to a sound mind, free from illusions and intoxicated thinking, become sober) and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (the foolish notion that you can do life well without God) (II Timothy 2:24-26).
“Martin Luther opened the Reformation by nailing the ‘Ninety-five Theses’ to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The very first of the theses stated that, ‘our Lord and Master Jesus Christ willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.’”
“On the surface this looks a little bleak. Luther seems to be saying Christians will never make much progress in life. That, of course, wasn’t Luther’s point at all. He was saying that repentance is the way we make progress in the Christian life” (T. Keller).
In repentance, my heart attaches daily to my Advocate with the Father, “Jesus Christ the righteous one” (I John 2:1-2). With deep gratitude, I recount my need for a “merciful and faithful high priest” (Hebrews 2:17) who is able to sympathize with my weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15), and “save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25). He is the one who was made sin for me and I have been made righteous in him (II Corinthians 5:21). “O God of Grace,” I confess, “ You have imputed my sin to my substitute, and imputed His righteousness to my soul.”
Sometimes I even need to repent of my repentance, as the Puritans acknowledged. Why? Because even in my repentance my heart wants to take pride in how repentant I am.
A life of repentance is built on deep personal trust in…
- The word of God
- The sovereignty of God’s will
- The sufficiency of God’s grace
- The certainty of God’s promises