This post is meant to offer practical reflections upon Pastor J.D.’s sermon “Repentance: 2 Samuel 12 and Psalm 51” preached at The Summit Church Saturday/Sunday January 29-30, 2011.
I almost wrote, “What happens if we don’t repent,” but then why I insinuate that we might not resist repentance. But it is worth noting before we get started that repentance is a gift and a blessing—not a burden and a punishment.
Before you read these seven points, think of your last few sins. Use those sins as a reference point to reflect on the impact of non-repentance.
Now to the title question:
1. We live in a world where our sin is deemed okay. Sin is not safe. We all cry “that’s not fair” when we are sinned against. Yet when we refuse to return and submit to God’s sanity through repentance, we change our expectations of life and others.
2. We force others to live in a world where our sin is okay. Those closest to us have their world changed when sin is not openly and humbly acknowledged as wrong. They are forced to protect where they should rest and question where they should trust. With time, these become habits and ways of life.
3. We blame others and, thereby, confuse sin and suffering. It is hard enough to decipher where I should and should not bear responsibility. When blame-shifting and rationalization enters relationships the level of moral and emotional confusion increases dramatically.
4. We force ourselves to handle life alone. Repentance is God’s invitation to all His resources. When we refuse to repent we begin to do life alone. We declare that “we know better and do not want anyone telling us how to live our life.” Independence comes at the price of community and protection.
5. We surround ourselves with those who agree with our sin. In the absence of God’s community we find/make our own. We begin to surround ourselves with those who like living in a world where our sin is okay. This reinforces and expands the corruptive influence of the sin we will not repent of.
6. We treat God as blind, creating a scary world requiring greater self-reliance. We think, “Nothing that bad has happened (yet). God either doesn’t know, doesn’t care, or won’t do anything about my sin.” Non-repentance devolves into living as a functional atheist. God becomes (in our mind) confined to certain places, subjects, or people. As God becomes smaller, more of life falls on our shoulders.
7. Ultimately, we continue to live for the kingdom of self and experience its bondage. God gives us what we want; we just don’t always like it. Sin always flips the tables from serving us to us serving it. This is where I encourage you to remember that repentance is the only freedom and life!