Palm Sunday, April 14, 2019
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. — Luke 5:31-32
I hope that these meditations have made obvious that repentance is a gift. It is a work of the Holy Spirit in us resulting in an act that flows out of us. Although it is our act, it does not originate from within us. In fact, in our naturally stubborn, rebellious hearts the whole notion of repentance is foreign. It must be granted to us by God Himself in order to be real. We could not even conceive of such a thing if left to ourselves. Instead, we would come up with all sorts of excuses for our sin and would point our depraved fingers at everyone else. But by His grace, God grants repentance to His adopted children whom He patiently disciplines: “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3:19). For even when our minds grow weary and our hearts doubt the promises of God, He remains faithful to His promises and patient toward His people “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
It is a gift because we cannot do it without God’s aid. This is why Peter was flabbergasted to see Gentiles repenting. It meant that God had indeed been working in the hearts of those who had previously been considered beyond His reach. And God is continually seeking and searching for His lost sheep. He uses multiple means to call us and bestow on us His gift of repentance.
And though, as this Holy Week reminds us, we have already been forgiven of our sins through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we are called to continue in our repentance so that we might become holy and blameless. It is a call to live perpetually in God’s grace, an on-going work of God in us. So let us look as some specific ways that God calls us and gives us the grace of repentance. And let Him challenge us to not only seek but accept the gift of repentance.