May 4, 2010
Tuesdays with Tozer- Repentance
What brings a person to a place of repentance?
There are many peculiar ideas about biblical repentance. I have talked with people who tried to tell me that repentance is necessary because “it makes you fit so that God can save you.” The Bible does not teach that, and it never did. No man or woman has changed the character or goodness of God by an act of repentance. All the repentance in the universe cannot make God any more loving, any more gracious, Repentance is not a meritorious act. God is eternally good, and He welcomes us into His love, grace and mercy when we meet His condition of an about-face so that we are aware of His smile.
Repentance means turning around from our evil ways in order to look to Jesus. The person who will not repent still has his or her back turned on God. Repentance is a condition we meet in order that God, already wanting to be good to us, can be good to us, forgiving and cleansing us. In that sense then, the man who loves his sin and hangs on to it cannot reasonably expect the goodness and the grace of God.
–A.W. Tozer (Men Who Met God, p. 45)
Yesterday a dear friend and Christian leader and I were engaged in a conversation about repentance. After we repent, change our ways, do a 180, how do we get those we work with to do the same? Or can we? Or is that the work of God’s Spirit?
I don’t think the work of true repentance can be forced or cajoled or manipulated. Though we might desire to see repentance in our own hearts (or those we love), we need the work of God’s Spirit in our lives to expose, reveal, challenge, and transform first. The log must be pulled before we can gain a right perspective of someone else’s splinter. Though we may hunger for repentance or change in the hearts of others, we must hunger for it first in our own. Then, and only then, can we ask for God to move in someone else’ s life in the humility and grace that such a request deserves.
What brings you to a place of repentance?