Here’s a devotion I shared recently at our Battleground Men’s group.
We know that our great God loved us sinners so much that he brought us to salvation in Jesus Christ. Note what Jesus said in Mark 2:16-17: And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
It’s easy to think of repentance as a one-time event when we first came to recognize our sin for what it is, but today let’s consider God’s continuing love for us as sinners!
What, me a sinner? I thought I was past all that!
But Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
Importantly, Paul does not say he WAS a sinner but that he IS a sinner.
You may have heard of Martin Luther nailing up his 95 theses. But do you know what the very first one was? It reads: “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent,’ He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” With no exceptions, Luther was calling Christians to repent.
Turning from sin and trusting in the good news that Jesus saves sinners isn’t merely a one-time inaugural experience but should be a daily experience for us as Christians. Our daily repentance and faith means living in constant realization of our tendency to abandon God. It is a daily re-orientation of our eyes onto Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Luther’s last known words scratched out on a piece of paper in February of 1546 said: “We are beggars! This is true.” That’s the heart of daily repentance and faith — living in a way that we continually recognize that our only hope is Christ. That propels change in us. And that change comes from God’s continuing love for us as sinners!
We are rebels, prone to wander, as the song says—- but God loves us too much to let us stay there when we wander. His love brings us the gift of repentance. Our rebellious condition meets with the beauty of God’s loving grace in the gospel of Jesus —a gospel deep enough to cover all the little and massive flaws of a beggar like Luther and beggars like us.
First and foremost, repentance is a gift. By his grace, God grants repentance to us, his adopted children whom He patiently disciplines. In Revelation 3:19, he says “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent”.
In conclusion, living a life where we know that we are sinners, in ongoing need for correction from the God who loves us, is a great launching pad for how we bring God’s love in Jesus to those sinners who haven’t gotten saved yet.