Sunday, August 26, 2012


Someone explained to me recently that the word "repent" in the Bible is quite different from our popular conception. It means so, so much more than merely "stop that sinning!" 

Repent in the New Testament sense means to agree with God. We see that somewhat in confession: yeah, you're right, I was wrong. But really it has a much deeper and more wonderful sense. Repent means agree to the extent that you are seeing yourself and the situation through God's perspective. It means coming to see your behavior, your situation, and the world around you through His eyes.

That's what daily Bible reading is really about. As we read God's word we begin to see things from his perspective. "Man sees the outward appearance but the LORD sees the heart." We are more saddened and disturbed by our sins. We are less afraid of other people's opinions and more in awe of God. Even if the mountains shake and fall into the heart of the sea we will not fear. 

Could this be what Jesus was getting at as he wandered Judea shouting "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" We turn from our sins because we come to agree with God and see them from his perspective.

That's why daily Bible study is so important. It's not an exercise in devotion. It's a process of coming to see our situations and selves and world through God's eyes, to think like Him, to have His priorities and heart.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Holy Impudence

No matter the dung clinging to your clothes, no matter the mistakes you are horribly and secretly ashamed of, let nothing stop you from running to your eternal Father.  Run right up to him in your filthy glory and fall shamelessly at his feet for grace to help in your time of need.  Notice it is grace we are offered--an unmerited favor or helping hand.  It is not merited at all.

Lift up your chin, lift up your eyes with even a sparkle in them because you know something of the great love hiding in the heart of God himself for you.  In your worst failures still come boldly, confidently, almost shamelessly into the very throne room of heaven because you have had a magnificent secret whispered in your ear. You, grubby street urchin that you are, are beloved by God, shamelessly loved by Him, so much so that He gave himself completely for you to save you from the very sins you need mercy for.

In fact, the way to God's displeasure is to shrink back, to skulk with modesty in the bushes with fig leaves trying to cover your shame. No. Let the fig leaves drop. Come marching in all your hairy sinfulness straight in to the Court and say: Look at the mess I've made again! And will not the Father smile such a smile as to light heaven and earth, and will He not take you straight to the bathtub and scrub every stain from His child again?

Perhaps to us our sad mistaken lives seem a never-ending series of mistakes. But to the eternal God, they are but a few days of crawling before we learn to stand and walk without stumbling with him forever.

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.