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Love and Forgiveness
I want to expand on something I mentioned in Sunday’s sermon. I made the observation that God’s love is unconditional but that his forgiveness is conditioned upon our repentance. This in no way means that we should be insecure in regards to our salvation in Christ. Repentance is a change of heart, mind and attitude that leads to changes in behavior. Repentance is not the change in behavior itself but the decision that leads to the change. As changes occur in our lives that shows that our repentance was genuine.
In other words, when one responds to the good news of Jesus they make a decision that they are no longer going to be in control of their life but that they are going to let Jesus be in control. This is what it means to submit to Jesus as Lord. The rest of one’s life is spent living out that decision. Repentance thus becomes a continual attitude of mind that is constantly causing us to make behavioral (and other) changes as we grow in our understanding of Jesus’ teachings.
It is similar to marriage in this respect. When I was 21 years old I made a commitment to my wife that I would be her husband for better or worse. I had some ideas at the time of what that meant, but I have a much better idea now that I’ve been living as her husband for 34 years! In the same way we make a decision to follow Jesus knowing something about what that means, but as we continue to follow our understanding grows and our lives continue to be transformed into the image of Christ.
None of us are perfect in our attempts to follow Jesus just as none of us are perfect husbands or wives. But, because of the amazing grace of God he doesn’t kick us out because of sin; rather the blood of Jesus cleanses us so that we can overcome the sin in our lives and not be under it’s control. This is plainly spelled out in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Walking in the light relates to our attitude of repentance. Having an attitude of repentance does not mean we are perfect; it simply means we have set our direction for life.
The grace of God is not given in vain. It is generously supplied so that we might have courage to continue to let God do his work in our lives. Keep an attitude of repentance so that your life might continue to change to be more like Him.