Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Candidates, Admissions, Confessions & True Repentance

Repentance is a discovery of the evil of sin, a mourning that we have committed it, a resolution to forsake it. It is, in fact, a change of mind of a very deep and practical character, which makes the man love what once he hated, and hate what once he loved.
Charles Spurgeon

Unless you've been living on a deserted island, you know that a tape was released of lewd comments Donald Trump made in a conversation in 2005. His comments have changed the minds of many, including many Bible-believing Christians. Some have questioned the sincerity of his apology, and the sincerity of his Christian faith.

In a prepared statement dated October 7, Mr. Trump responded, "This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course - not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended."  He expanded that in a video apology saying, "I've never said I'm a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I'm not. I've said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. anyone who knows me knows these words don't reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize. . . I've said some foolish things, but there's a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims."

I don't have an inside track on the true condition of Trump's, the President's, or Hillary's hearts. I don't hold the moral high ground. Before believing in and following Jesus, I was an immoral man who had sinful conversations in locker rooms and board rooms with other sinners. And, if I choose not to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, I could easily slide back into the cesspool or moral mediocrity. I seem to remember Jesus saying that when we who follow Him pray, we should say, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

I am not writing to judge Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton, but this very public debate brings out the preacher/teacher in me. It raises this question. What is true repentance? Is it an apology, admitting to a mistake, confessing to a sin, or is it something else?

Many admit they've made mistakes. Fewer admit they've sinned. Admitting we are sinners is a good thing, since God only saves sinners. Those who think they have no sin will die in their sin. Confessing that we have sinned is also good thing. Only those who admit their sin and confess it can be forgiven and cleansed by God. Repenting of sin is a very good thing. Repentance offers no excuses, no defense and no self-justification. Instead, repentance admits its full guilt and throws itself upon the mercy of God, trusting in His righteousness and grace. When we confess, we admit we have sinned. When we repent, we admit our sin and turn from it. Proverbs 28:13 says, "Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy."

It is good to admit our mistakes. It is better to confess our specific sins. It is best to confess and forsake them. That's when we find mercy. As Spurgeon said, "When we discover the evil of sin, mourn over having committed it, resolve to forsake it, and surrender all we know to God," we find ourselves living in the freedom of a repentant life. So for the glory of God and the freedom we desire, let's take our eyes off the politicians, face the man in the mirror and ask, "Have I truly repented of my sin?"

(Please know that these are my personal views and not necessarily those of Calvary Baptist Church.)