Is My Repentance Enough?
MARCH 7, 2023
I am a robust sinner. You’d think it was my second job to lower myself into the inky depths of sin until it stains me so deeply everyone can see. But not everyone sees. I mean, I know the correct clothes to wear to cover up the stains.
If our fleshy, corrupted version of religion is good at one thing, it’s teaching us how to hide those sinful stains in such a way that others see us as nearly sinless. But there’s almost always a point where we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror, and guilt takes a handful of our heart and squeezes. There’s a point where we fall on our faces in realization that we’ve done it again.
Where we wonder,
…in silent shame,
…if God can possibly
…forgive us again.
Sometimes we aren’t lucky enough to catch ourselves. The truth slides like water through the cracks in our façade, exposing us to the world. People point at our sin like it is some newly discovered beast they’ve never laid eyes on. And we repent. But, some will gladly tell you your repentance isn’t good enough. That it’s weak, you didn’t mean it enough, or you only did it because you got caught. But that’s because they think our repentance somehow earns us God’s forgiveness. It’s not true. Even our best repentance would amount to a poor meal to offer a hungry god. Whether the stale bread of repentance is good enough for God has never been the issue.
Our sin is no small thing. Every choice I make affects me and those around me. The physical consequences of my actions might well echo down the hall of the rest of my life. Worse, it’s an affront to God. But our imperfect repentance doesn’t keep the gift of God’s love from washing us clean. His forgiveness isn’t based on how perfectly we get the grammar, or how well dressed we are when we present it to our Father. Forgiveness is based on the finished work of Jesus, not how well we repent.
Of course I’m not saying to half-do it. But I don’t think I’m talking to people who want to half-do it. I’m talking to people who are sincerely sorry for their sins—so sorry they can’t imagine their screw-ups can be made right. Thankfully, God’s forgiveness isn’t based on how much we think God can forgive, or whether someone else judges our repentance as good enough, but on God’s willingness to forgive. And, because of Christ’s finished work on the Cross, God is willing.