REPENTANCE AND REDEMPTION
REV. JONATHAN BLANCHARD
September 11, 2016
Having some R and R: Repentance and Redemption
Summer is usually a time for some R and R. Most of us interpret R and R as rest and relaxation. This is true but in our spiritual work we also need to take time for a different kind of R and R. Repentance and Redemption. The scripture readings for today give a clear message of why it is important to repent and be redeemed.
Let us first examine the word Repentance
Repentance is turning from the wrong way or sinful way of behaving to a new way of behaving. Repenting means you recognize the error of your ways. This does not mean that every mistake is a sin. Saying 1 +1=3 is not a sin but it is incorrect. Not tidying up after yourself is an aggravation to others but is still not a sin. I use the word sin as an acronym: Self Indulgent Nature. Jesus summed up all the laws to two. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your Neighbour as yourself. Sin is the act of being selfish not selfless. Saul (before becoming Paul) was only concerned that he was regarded righteous. He did not care about how God perceived him and did not care about how others felt about his treatment. In a sense Saul was narcissistic. His repentance involved becoming “little” and considering all past accomplishments as rubbish. Saul was a demonstrative individual. He was a man of words and action. Jesus reminds us that we need to repent of what we do and what we think. We do not need to physically kill somebody in order to commit the sin of murder. Adultery too can be committed in the heart and not in the flesh. Let’s put it in very simple terms. If you say, do or think anything that is unloving to God, other human-beings or yourself then you have committed a sin and need to repent. It could be as innocuous as not saying something that needs to be said or as egregious as physically harming an individual or yourself.
Repentance needs Redemption
Redemption can be a confusing word. We redeem coupons in stores. In sports, commentators talk of a chance “at redemption” or to “redeem” an athlete’s poor performance. These societal definitions have confused the true and eternal meaning of redemption. We cannot redeem ourselves from our sins. Redemption comes from Jesus Christ. Jesus looks at our soul, recognizes the confessed sin, and then chooses to remove it from us. The best analogy I have for this is the pernicious disease of cancer. It is invisible to the sufferer but is still present. A patient may experience symptoms and a physician is called in to examine them and then give treatments through chemo therapy, surgery or both.
Jesus is the physician for our souls. He examines the waywardness of our heart, and then offers the ultimate and life-saving treatment of forgiveness.
There are two final questions that must be asked:
Are you willing to admit you have sin in your life that needs repentance?
Are you willing to let Jesus redeem you from your sin and make you a new person today?
Let us Pray:
Lord we admit we have sinned against you, our neighbor and our self. Set us free from these sins. This we ask in Jesus our redeemer’s precious name. Amen.