Repentance to God’s love
As we continue our look at some of our misunderstandings of God, I want to take a look at repentance. Repentance for most Christians means to tell God how sorry one is for their sins. We have equated repentance to sorrow. While it is true that godly sorrow leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10), being sorry doesn’t necessarily bring forth change. Being sorry is simply an emotional response. True repentance is a change of mind. One thing that we need to repent of (i.e. change our minds about) is the fact that God is love and He is for humanity and not against humanity. If most of your prayer time is “forgive me” and “I am so sorry” then something is wrong with your relationship with Father and you misunderstand Him. I know because a lot of my prayer times used to be about me begging for forgiveness.
John Sheasby said, “Jesus came not simply to deliver us from something; he came to deliver us to something. And that something is the Father’s heart. He came not simply to deliver us from servitude; he came to deliver us to sonship. He came not simply to free us from fear; he came to free us to love.” (The Birthright). We are God’s sons and daughters, yet we continue to live like slaves and servants. Slaves and servants live in fear of punishment. Sons do not. They delight in their father’s goodness and kindness.
It is important to note that God’s love is a love that initiates; it is never a response. That is precisely what makes it unconditional. If God’s love were conditional, then we would have to do something to earn or merit it. We would have to somehow appease His wrath and cleanse ourselves of our sin before God would be able to love us. But that is not the biblical message. The biblical message—the gospel—is that God, motivated by love, moved unconditionally to save His people from their sin.
So, we must repent from believing the lies that God is so against us to the fact that God is love and that He wants a relationship with us. Jesus dealt with the issue of sin at the cross. We can now come boldly to the throne of grace when we need help (Heb. 4:14-16). Notice that we come boldly, not cowering in fear. Why? Because Jesus understands our struggles and He loves us.
While God’s love for us is unconditional, His love for us will cause Him to discipline us as a Father. Therefore, we cannot just do whatever we want and think that God’s love will cover it up. A loving father disciplines His children in order for them to be more responsible.
So, is your prayer life more about loving God or constantly telling Him how sorry you are for your sins?