Good morning, happy Friday, and many blessings.
The Gospel of Matthew 5: 27-32 teaches us that the reason why we do not have a close relationship with our Creator is because we do not know how to repent in a God-fearing manner.
From the moment, God created humanity from the dust of the ground onwards we have been struggling to know and have a relationship with our Creator. You would think the ambassadors of Christ and royal priests that have been sealed by the Spirit of God would have little difficulty knowing, accepting, and striving towards fulfilling God’s command to be holy. How I wish that was the case! Like Paul, we often gratify the evil desires of our sinful nature and thus miss the mark of holiness every single day. Sin leaves us distant from a holy God who refuses to be close to those spiritual babies who continue to covet their strongholds of sin. Since there is no sin that the blood of Christ cannot wash away then why do our attempts of confession and repentance seem to be nothing more than an exercise in futility? How can one repent and yet remain a wretched, blind beggar thirsty to know one’s own Creator?
The problem of course is not with God. To those who truly repent He always forgives and cleanses from all unrighteousness. If you draw near to God, He will draw near to you. The reason why holiness and closeness to God remain beyond our reach is because we do not know how to repent in a God-fearing manner! Let me for a moment reflect on this question: How important is repentance to God as outlined in both the First and Second Testaments?
From the introduction of the sinful nature in the book of Genesis onwards humanity has been breaking God’s commands. Repentance in the Old Testament is the mechanism that God gave to His people to be forgiven so that they might not face His wrath but instead His closeness. In the Second Testament, the importance of repentance cannot be overstated. The very first word of the Gospel message was to “repent for the kingdom of God has come near” (Matthew 3:2). We are told in Luke 24 that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in the name of the risen Savior to the entire world (46-47)!
What the commands of the First Testament were powerless to do because they were weakened by the sinful nature, through Christ the law of the Spirit has been given to set people free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2)! Since this New Covenant fulfills the promise to give humanity a new heart that is capable of attaining holiness, we are warned by God that He will no longer overlook our sin. Like the First Testament, those who make light of the riches of His kindness, forbearance, and patience by hold onto their stubborn, unrepentant hearts are storing up the wrath of God against themselves (Romans 2:4-5). The message of repentance in the Second Testament is clear: since all sin is equally offensive to God (James 2:10), all people will be held accountable for the things done in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10)!
I have many sins in my life just like I am sure you do as well. I am no longer willing to allow sin to reign in my heart and thus keep me from approaching God. In my understanding, the problem facing today’s Christian is that God’s mechanism to restore our relationship with Him, i.e. repentance, seems to elude our sensibilities! The message of the First and Second Testaments are clear: God’s righteous wrath will fall on those who choose to embrace any other way of living except that of His own! God is light and there simply will not be any darkness found in Him!