Skip to main content

The Essential we Christians tend to Forget

Image result for luther door



On the evening of the 31st of October, 1517 the German monk, Martin Luther, was not going trick-or-treating.

He was doing something that would turn the visible expression of Christianity upside down..

On that night, he nailed up a paper containing “95 Theses” on the door of the church in Wittenburg for the purpose of debate. These theses called for real change within the established Catholic Church of the day. Some unknown soul got his hands on this document and took it to a man who possessed the latest in communications technology: the printing press.

With the aid of this technology, Luther’s ideas spread through Europe like a flame through petrol, igniting hearts and minds to the truths of the Gospel. This is what kicked off, what history records as, “The Protestant Reformation”. It would take a big book to go through all 95 of these revolutionary theses. So, how about the first one? Luther’s first thesis was this: Jesus commands that the entire life of a Christian should be one of repentance.

Repentance. It’s not a DJ-cool word nowadays. There’s not a “repentant” emoticon under “How I’m feeling” on Facebook. It’s considered far too “old school” for our trendy Christian tastes. It was, however, the first word of Jesus’ ministry (Matthew 4). It was the first word of John the Baptist (Luke 3). It was the call by Peter in the very first sermon of the Church on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

Noticing a pattern?

If you have never repented, you are not saved. If you are not regularly practicing repentance, you are falling away from God.

Repentance is turning away from our sin and foolishness and turning to God to live a new life full of His love and power. It is saying no to the thoughts and behaviours that are contrary to God’s word and embracing the lifestyle God calls us to. When the angel announced to Joseph that his fiancée, Mary, was going to have a baby conceived by the Spirit, he said that this Messiah would, “Save his people from their sins.” That’s why Jesus came. Repentance is embracing that salvation from sin.

There is no finish line this side of eternity. In this life, we always have more than enough room to grow spiritually. We can always love God and people more than we do. We can always be kinder, gentler and bolder. Every day we can get before God and say, “Please shine your light on my life. Is there anything here that displeases you?” If you are on the road to Heavenly Zion, there is more and deeper repentance ahead for you. The good news is that we can safely bring our sin before this holy God and find mercy because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. He has already paid the penalty; now we can find acceptance even in our broken condition.

Repentance is more than just verbally confessing your sins. The devil may say that he’s a sinner, but he will never repent. Repenting is turning away from our sin and embracing God’s holiness in thought, word and deed. You do not have to be educated or have a degree in theology to do it. You just need a heart that is sensitive to the Holy Spirit (note His first name).

Practically, the things we can repent “of” are as numerous as the things we can repent “to”. We repent of unbelief to faith. We turn from complaining to thankfulness. We turn away from criticising people and turn to praying for them (this includes our parents and the government). We repent of anxieties and fear and turn to God in trust and praise. From being self-centred to being a more conscientious friend. We turn from sexual immorality to chastity (if we’re single) or sex with our spouse alone (if we’re married). We turn away from looking for true meaning and significance in a relationship and turn to God alone to satisfy us and to define who we are.


A man (or woman) who lives a life of repentance is a dangerous tool in the hands of God. The Bible says, “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and he will exalt you.” (1 Peter 5). The key to deeper spiritual power in our lives comes from continual repentance to God. Any church that practices this and then (and only then) begins to preach it will be unstoppable.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dear Pro-Gay Christian Friend

[Response to the letter Dear Non-Affirming Christian]
Dear Pro-Gay Christian Friend,
Thank you for taking the time to write me. Sadly, it seems you misunderstand why I met with you for coffee. Please let me explain my motives by defining the words in my salutation above. Would this be too terrible a way to go about it?
Let’s start with ‘friend’ shall we? You rightly question this term as an accurate description of our relationship. For now, let's simply say I mean it as an expression of good will - but will return to it again at the end of the letter. Then there's this term, 'pro-gay'. By this, I don't mean your personal sexual urges. There have historically been – and are today – countless godly leaders in the church who have deep sexual and romantic attractions to people of the same gender. In spite of their desires, they remain celibate and teach orthodox views of gender and sexuality. In your letter, you repeatedly refer to me as a ‘non-affirming Christian’, but I …

Where I Turn Down a Gay 'Wedding' Invitation

Dear Katie,
I hope this letter finds you well. You’ve been on my mind lately as it’s been a few weeks since we’ve met up. We’re overdue to grab a coffee – I hope we can soon. I also want to thank you for thinking of me as you sent out invitations for what I know will be a big day for you and Joanna. I’ve known you since before you met her (two years ago now, is it?) and I appreciate all you’ve shared with me about how meaningful that relationship is to you. It was especially kind of you given my Christian faith. You've never directly asked me my views on gender or sex in much detail. But I think our conversations must have touched on it enough times to at least make you a bit unsure of my reaction when you sent the invitation. I have to say 'no' to your kind invitation. You know that I care for you and that I value our friendship. You know I don't reject you because you are gay. So, would it be too much to ask of you if I explain why my faith would make attendance at your…

Driscoll Returns, ‘Christian Today’ Melts.

Sometimes in the course of events, a peculiar thing happens that then triggers a response more peculiar still. This is what we now see with the return of Pastor Mark Driscoll to the church scene.
For those unfamiliar with the drama, Mark Driscoll was a church planter and Bible teacher who made a big impact in the least churched city in the USA: Seattle. Thousands professed faith in Christ through his ministry. But he left the church that he had started under dark circumstances. No, it wasn’t adultery as is so often the case with some of these big-name preachers. Rather, it was heavy-handed leadership―resulting in many spiritually crushed church members―that drove him to resign.
Now, three years later, he is leading a new church and many are downloading his sermons once again. This is not without some valid controversy―for reasons we’ll mention soon. But what is most noticeable is not his peculiar return. It is the reaction among those who lean left of classical Christian teaching: the …