REPENTANCE: To turn away from one thing to another. In Kingdom terms, to turn away from a lie and see the truth. Why do Christians believe other Christians desire sin? If you don’t desire sin, why do you think another does? I believe one of the most effective ways to help people through “sin” is not to focus on who they are not, but to focus on who they truly are. Sin at its core root is selfishness. But selfishness is not overcome by our effort because that leads to religious performance. Selfishness is overcome by knowing the kindness and goodness of God. It is knowing His ways are better than our ways. That His promises are better than any illegal promise the enemy can cook up. 2 Peter 1:4
Let’s take this to a popular used Scripture: 1 Cor 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteousb will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,c 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
This Scripture is quoted often in telling people what they should not do. And rightfully so. However we miss the full impact of this Scripture if we stop at verse 10. Here’s why:
1 Cor 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Notice in verse 11 it’s not focusing on behavior anymore, but identity! As such WERE some of you. It doesn’t say TRY to be something different. Paul is telling the Corinthians this ISN’T who you are anymore! Paul isn’t jealous of their sin. He isn’t cutting them with Scripture and putting them in condemnation. He is saying, look my children this isn’t who you are. You have been washed. You have been sanctified (not BEING sanctified), and you were JUSTIFIED. But Christians are so scared to say that other Christians are made righteous and justified in the sight of God because of FEAR that they might sin if they know they “can”. But God did NOT give us a Spirit of Fear. So those who are entrenched in this fear are completely disregarding the POWER of God who alone can change a man. And who has already DONE so.
As a result they end up creating what they fear most. I have seen sin conscious preaching might tickle the ears, but it rarely changes hearts. Behavior modification works for a temporary time, but identity modification works permanently. We see this in the Old Testament vs New Testament realities. One says what you can’t do. And the other says who you now are by the sacrifice of Christ. He alone can change the tree. Are we not branches who rest peacefully in the Vine’s finished work?
The Pharisees were quick to see what was wrong with everyone else. But had forgotten the more weightier matters of the law which is to love one another. And it is in our love for one another that the world will see who belongs to Christ. And it is this same love that will break the back of selfishness. It is this love that will allow others to feel safe and secure in their Father’s arms. And it is this love that will not fail 1 Cor 13. So let’s remember who we are. And if a brother falls in sin, restore him gently. Reminding him of the goodness and kindness of God, seeking out the lie that has caused him to fall, and showing him who he now is in Christ. Picking a fight with the spirit trying to control him, but not the beloved brother who has forgotten who he is in Christ.
If YOU can’t see the good in someone, the reality of what Christ paid for them to walk in, and know how much God loves them. You don’t have a vested interest in their life. Nor the knowledge nor right to speak correction into their life. As a result you are nothing, but a clanging symbol. Or do you think the Scriptures were written for you to go around correcting people forgetting that it is the Master who is well able to make His servants stand or fall? Have you gone to Scripture to be cut yourself? Does your life show the fruit of what the pruning words of Scripture do? Has your love caused people to feel safe, to feel loved, and to trust that you hear from the Spirit? Repent yourself and others will desire your repentance and their own. This in my opinion is true Kingdom repentance. And it overcomes sin. Because Christ already did.