Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Genuine Repentance

What constitutes genuine repentance? King David and King Saul both committed sins. David‘s were the more serious, adultery and murder. But God rejected Saul’s repentance (1 Samuel 15:20-31) and accepted the repentance of David, though there were consequences (2 Samuel 12:13-15). Why? Now God knows the heart and can see things we cannot. But can we tell why there was a difference?

Saul made excuses. We see this also at the time of his earlier sin (1 Samuel 13:10-14). He followed the procedure that goes all the way back to the Garden, of passing the buck (Genesis 3:8-13). More than that, he was more worried about what the people thought than what God thought (Galatians 1:10; Proverbs 29:25; 1 John 2:15-17). We see this in his pleading with Samuel to honor him before the people. Blaming his sin on the people. Panicking and offering the sacrifice because the people were deserting him. And later on he tried to kill David because the people liked him better (1 Samuel 18:6-11). He saw God as a means to the end of having the people honor him. But the bottom line was, he did not trust God. When the people were deserting him, he offered the sacrifice for fear of losing his army. But God later showed He could bring about victory with only a few (1 Samuel 14:1-23). Because of this, Saul was unwilling to obey God by killing all the Amalekites. Therefore, though Saul went through the motions of repentance, his repentance was a sham. He was more concerned with his image than with being right with God. But if we look at David’s confession (Psalms 51), we see a man who wants to be right with God. He admits his sin and does not try to come up with a multitude of excuses. David, for all his failings, sought God’s approval; Saul sought people’s approval and saw God as a means to that end.

In 2 Corinthians 7:10 it speaks of two kinds of sorrow for sin. One brings a person to God to repent. It leads to being without regret, not that you do not wish you had not sinned, but you put it behind you and go on (Philippians 3:12). This is ultimately based on the forgiveness God offers at the cross through faith in Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 4;4,5; Philippians 3:9). The other pushes you from God to hide from Him and ultimately on some level produces death. This is shown in the lives of two other men. Peter denied Christ but repented (Matthew 26:69-75) and ultimately became a mighty preacher in God’s service (Acts 2:14). Judas betrayed Christ and later regretted it and went out and hung himself (Matthew 27:1-10). So when we sin we need to be willing to come to God and honestly admit our sins, trusting in Him to forgive us (Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9; Psalms 32:5). And not just do it for show.

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