Wednesday, December 12, 2012
actions of repentance
Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.
This is what acknowledgement of sin looks like. This poetic position of humble repentance was meant to bring Israel and Judah to a point of repentance. It was written down during the reign of Josiah in Judah. He was one of the reform-minded good kings. And Jeremiah's message recounts the countless despicable ways in which both kingdoms of Israel and Judah had turned from The Lord. At the end of this repentance is the response of agreement.
At its heart repentance is a way in which we agree with God about our sin. That acceptance of the wrong in our sin must lead to the recognition that our attitude toward sin must change. In this case, it was a willingness to accept the consequences of guilt, shame, and dishonor. That led to humble confession of sin.
There is also an action in repentance. It turns from sin to new works of right living. It is the call that changes our expression of who and what we worship. When we agree with God, we want to please Him. And real repentance turns to that choice in a visible fashion.
Repentance cannot be just saying "I'm sorry". It must move us to actions that show the serious new commitment to live as God wants. It is about that change that God brings to us. It is obeying the voice of God.