Wednesday, March 17, 2010
SALT Challenge - Penitence
Lythan provided the SALT team with today's challenge - "Penitence" and she made the following comments on the SALT blog, "I would put simply as "being aware of what we have done wrong and seeking God's forgiveness" or having a sense of regret for sin and wanting to make a sincere change. The focal reading for me is this one 1 John 1:8-9 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." What does it mean to be aware of our wrong doing and of the forgiveness we receive through Jesus Christ? How can we sincerely make a change in our lives? Our challenge reminded of a song by Jewel in which she sings, "if we want to be forgiven, we must first believe in sin." It's true...Based upon conversations with many friends over the years, I don't think most people see themselves as all that bad. One of my favorite lines is, "well I've never killed anyone." It's like that's God's only criteria for determining whether someone is "good" or not. Or we compare ourselves to those around us and figure that most of the time we behave better. I mean I give to the poor, use fabric grocery bags instead of plastic, am faithful to my spouse, that's enough, right? This turns the gospel of Christ on it's ear...assuming that God has some giant chart up in heaven where He keeps track of all the good and bad things that you do and as long as the good things outweigh the bad, then you're in! The truth is we're all far worse then we even realize. And even one little sin, one small transgression is enough for God to cast us into hell. It's His great love and mercy that offers us hope....that hope is Christ. Spurgeon, in one of his Morning and Evening devotions, says the following, "It is true that our Lord Jesus does redeem all His people from the wrath to come; He saves them from the fearful condemnation which their sins had brought upon them; but His triumph is far more complete than this. He saves His people 'from their sins.' Where Christ works a saving work, He casts satan from his throne, and will not let him be master any longer. Sin will (continue to) be in us - it will never be utterly expelled till the spirit enters glory - but it will never have dominion. Sin will never get the upper hand so as to be absolute monarch of our nature. Is sin subdued in you? If your life is unholy your heart is unchanged, and if your heart is unchanged you are an unsaved person. If the Saviour has not sanctified you, renewed you, given you a hatred of sin and a love of holiness, He has done nothing in you of a saving character. The good news is that "if we confess our sins, Christ is faithful to forgive us our sins." This is a most powerful verse for me for it is the one that God used to bring about real change in my own heart. Salvation isn't based upon a set number of good acts, it's based solely upon the work of Christ, Who came to save His people not in their sins, but from them. "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." If not saved from sins, how shall we hope to be counted among His people? If you feel lead to create something based on this week's topic, please leave us a comment on the SALT blog with a link back to your blog or gallery. We'd love to share in your creation. See the SALT blog to see how the design team explored the challenge.