If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
A few months ago, Pam and I had to fly to a speaking engagement. We started out on a big jet and then had to transfer to a puddle-jumper. That plane was so small there really wasn't any room set aside for carry-on luggage.
Well, I can tell you that news didn't sit very well with one of the passengers.
When told he would have to relinquish his bag, he said, "My carry-on is legal size."
The attendant apologized, but didn't give in. She said, "Your carry-on still has to be stored."
The man argued, "I'm not going to check it. There's stuff here that can't be left out of my sight."
The man said all kinds of things. He threatened to write to the airline's president and when that failed, he used colorful language. Eventually, the lady at check-in said, "Sir, here's the choice: either give me your carry-on and get on the plane, or keep your carry-on and stay right here."
The furious man stalked off, with his wheeled carry-on following behind.
I don't know if you have ever thought about it, but that's the way it is when it comes to sin and repentance. If you want to keep your sins, if you think your life is fine just the way it is, you can keep those sins ... but you aren't getting into heaven.
Scripture is clear: either you repent and turn your sins over to Jesus, or you keep those sins and stay right where you are.
Truly, if you prefer to keep your sins, you get a one-way ticket to a place you don't want to go.
Being sorry you've been caught is not repentance. Trying to figure out a way to get around the rules is not repentance. Pretending you're a different person is not repentance. Figuring out new ways to do old sins is not repentance. Just feeling "bad" is not repentance.
Repentance happens when the Holy Spirit lets you see that you're a sinner, a stinker, a scallywag, and a skunk. Repentance is realizing God is always right, and you are not. Repentance is what happens when the Holy Spirit turns you away from what you've been and, with faith in Jesus, begins to remake you into what God wants you to be.
The Holy Spirit does all this because, although Jesus accepts you as you are, He doesn't leave you as you were. Our Savior makes us into something better, something you couldn't have been without Him.
He makes us forgiven sinners and thankful members who are part of the family of faith.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, let me see myself as I really am: a sinner who needs the forgiveness You wish to give. Then, let me rejoice in the forgiveness that has transformed me -- from the lost soul I once was -- to being Your saved child. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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