March 29, 2011
Then He (Jesus) opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem." Luke 24:45-47
Keith Gruber of Swan Lake, New York, has a tough time with the idea of repentance.
Last December 27th he was arrested in the community of Liberty. Driving while intoxicated was the charge.
Gruber was eventually let out on $30,000 bail with the understanding he would appear before the judge for his trial.
He kept his promise. True, Gruber arrived at court about an hour and a half late, and when he got there he was drunk, and he was carrying an open can of Busch beer, and he had four unopened cans in his bag -- cans which set off the metal detector when he entered the county courthouse.
When the judge asked Gruber if he had enjoyed his "liquid lunch," the reply was "yes." Gruber's short answer was followed by an apology. The judge can be excused for not thinking Gruber's repentance was all that sincere. Maybe that explains why Gruber found his bail revoked and the day ended up with him in jail.
Gruber is not alone in minimizing the importance of repentance. Today there are many churches that refuse to address the idea of sin or repentance.
This is a terribly sad and unscriptural thing to do.
The prophets preached repentance. John the Baptist called for repentant hearts. And although many people prefer to think Jesus was never judgmental and say the Savior accepted people without expecting or causing any change in their hearts, Scripture says differently.
That's why Jesus says repentance and forgiveness would be preached in His Name to the entire world.
It is God's will and wish that the Holy Spirit call us from what we were and then, having given us a repentant heart, begins the process of encouraging us to live as the Lord wants us to.
That's the way it's supposed to work, but sometimes those sins and shortcomings become so much a part of us we don't want to leave them behind.
This is just one more reason to repent, which I guess means we would be repenting of our unwillingness to repent.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I give thanks You have saved me through Jesus. Send the Holy Spirit so that this day I may leave behind all that would impede the relationship between us which You desire. This I ask in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries