Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Forgiveness First, Then Repentence

I was telling someone the other day that what I enjoy about Jesus' parables is that as you layer one on the other certain themes emerge that you may not have seen with just one parable. One theme that I see emerging is that Jesus doesn't expect us to repent in order for him to forgive us. He forgives us in order that we will repent.

I mentioned this on Sunday in my sermon on The Lost Sheep. Sheep are incapable of "repenting". Once lost, they shut down, curl up and wait to be rescued or die. If the shepherd doesn't seek them out and carry them home they are toast. In the parable of the Lost Coin (Luke 15) the same is true. The coin has no ability to "repent" and is dependent on the woman to find it.

I will show this Sunday that the Prodigal son tried to repent by returning home willing to be a servant but the end of this kind of "repentance" was only slavery. That's not what God wants for us. He wants us to be his son or daughter. So true repentance doesn't happen for the prodigal until his Father takes action - embraces him and offers him a banquet. True repentance takes place when the son agrees to attend the party and live like a son instead of a slave.

I'm convinced that many Christians live like slaves vs. children of God because they still haven't received God's forgiveness. They are in a perpetual state of trying to earn God's forgiveness, but since that's impossible, they never achieve their goal which makes them feel like they are on the "outs" with God. Is that true for you?


Geneva Koleski said...

Sometimes it's a struggle to remember you're forgiven. Wouldn't it be nice if you got a little card in the mail from God that said you're forgiven? Then you could pull it out during the tough times or carry it around in your pocket.

angie said...

I was watching the T.V. CNN news to be exact. Watching the fires and people who lost everything. Different thoughts came to mind mostly about how they would view God in the midst of it all. I thought about the opinions man has about God and how it can hinder their relationships with him. I thought specifically about the opinion that God was somehow responsible for all the tragedies in the world and that people would use the fires to say it was Gods judgement. Just then it was like God interupted all that was taking place in my mind. Came up next to me and stopped to see what I was watching and thinking and then interupted by saying..."Thats why people need ME, thats why I came. Thats why I made a way out for man, because of what I knew would take place." Then and there God assured my heart with his Goodness and my view of things changed. I think I will see things differently from now on. I am glad it is not up to me to save myself.
I love hearing that the coin could'nt "repent". That sheep cannot rescue themselves and mostly that God is for me not against me.
P.S. why don't we send out those CARDS (not tracks) for God:)
Tracks have their purpose but something more personal would do too.