Revolutionary Christianity- Living the Revolutionary Lifestyle in Accountability, Part 2

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10

In continuing with the idea of living revolutionary Christianity out in our accountability I think it is important to focus a little more on repentance. I recently listened to Pastor Mark Driscoll give a sermon on Nehemiah 9, a passage which sees the Levitical priests stand before the recently reunited Jerusalem and confess the sins of the people to God. In this message Driscoll spent some time discussing four types of false repentance. Thus, because I believe it’s important, and because God convicted me so clearly of the false repentance which I often make, I want to share thesebriefly with you.

The first type of false repentance is mere repentance. This is the type of repentance in which you know what you did was sin, you know you should confess it before God and seek His forgiveness, and yet inside you really have no brokenness or desire to change. This would be typified by doing all of the things in 2 Chronicles 7:14 (above) except for the part on “turning from (your) wicked ways.” This is certainly the false repentance which I am most guilty of. It is the repentance I find myself in when I get stuck in the trap of complacency and arrogance concerning my eternal security. It’s the mindset which says, “I know that I am saved forever, solely through the work of the Father and not of my own obedience, so it’s really no big deal if I continue doing this thing I know I’m not really supposed to do.” (Note: it is a big deal because God still commands us to be obedient after our regeneration!).

The second type is worldly sorrow. This is most certainly the type of false repentance being decried in 2 Corinthians 7:10. We see this when someone has an emotional breakdown in response to their sin, and in doing so make their show of repentance a point of pride instead of a true act of turning from sin. This seems to fall in line with the other admonitions which Christ gives in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), where he repeatedly calls out the religious for doing acts of obedience in aflashy manner, seeking to have their rewards on earth.

The third form of false repentance we encounter is self-righteousness. This form of false repentance manifests itself in our desire to seek repentance for others sins, but not necessarily our own. This is what Jesus described in Luke 6:41 as pointing out the speck in your brother’s eye while ignoring the log in your own.

The final type of false repentance enumerated we wish to enumerate is religious repentance. In religious repentance you are exercising repentance in attempt to avoid punishment or retribution from God. We can see this come about because we misinterpret the meaning of fearing God. Instead of fearing God in a manner of humble and obedient reverence, we fear God as a cosmic bully who is always seeking to injure us for the sins we commit. In doing this we fail to make notice of the fact that God’s wrath was satisfied in Christ’s death upon the cross (1 John 4:10). Through Christ’s role as the propitiation for our sins we no longer bear the punishment of God in our own lives for the sins we commit, and thus have no reason to repent out of fright. This is one of the great significances of the cross, and we cheapen Christ’s sacrifice so much by failing to get this point.

As revolutionary Christians we must have a revolutionary view of repentance. We must recognize false repentance and flee from it, and we must seek to have repentance which is a true inner-brokenness over our sins, an internal sorrow over our disobedience to the God who loves us and is so gracious, and a peace knowing that God has been and will be faithful to forgive us through the death of His son.

Leave a Reply