In the Light

1 John 1:5-10

This is the message we heard from Jesus[a] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Upon my salvation, I believed God forgave ALL my sins; past, present & future. Although this is true, as a new disciple, I was inadvertently taught that I didn’t need to repent -ever again.

Romans 3:23-24

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

By God’s grace, I HAVE BEEN SAVED from eternal punishment and my destiny in Him is secure! And now I know that when I repent, it is not to re-secure my spot in heaven, but to re-open the door to God’s light in my life. Choosing to rest on the laurels of praying the sinner’s prayer 14 years ago does not exclude me from living in darkness today. To pretend that I have not sinned since that day is foolishness. When there is unconfessed sin in my life, my relationship with God is hindered. The only way to uncover that darkness is to penetrate it with His light. As I pause each day and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal those places in my soul (some of which I may be completely unaware of because I am being deceived by the enemy), He is faithful to answer:

-judgment

-unforgiveness

-complacency

-doubt

-fear

Then, instead of offering a “blanket” apology, I repent in detail for these things:

REPENT = to feel or show that you are sorry for something wrong that you did and that you want to do what is right (Merriam-Webster)

-“Lord, please forgive me for judging ________. You know their heart, and you will judge according to your perfect will, not mine.”

-“I choose as an act of my will, to forgive _________. They owe me nothing.”

-“Father, remove the complacency from my soul. Help me to run boldly after you to further your Kingdom on this earth.”

-“God, forgive me for doubting that you are good- and that you will provide for me.”

-“Lord, please show me the root of this fear. I repent for being bound to my circumstances, instead of trusting in you.”

A “blanket” repentance can be likened to a “blanket” apology after a fight with my spouse. In the beginning, Doug and I were ok with just saying “I’m sorry…” to one another. But, as our relationship has deepened and the light has pushed the areas of darkness back, our souls long for greater oneness. Now, when we repent to one another, we are specific:

-“I apologize for yelling and disrespecting you in front of the kids…I wanted you to do what I wanted.”

-“Would you please forgive me for disregarding the budget you set in place? I made a hasty decision to buy what I wanted.”

-“I’m sorry I didn’t consult you before making plans with friends. I was only thinking about what I wanted to do.”

When we confess our sin- in detail- the other person knows the sincerity of our heart. It also shows that we desire complete restoration for the relationship. A quick “I’m sorry” is usually expressed to just get ourselves out of trouble, so we can move on with what we want to do (take the kids to their activities, watch the big game on TV, go shopping, have sex….). But our spouse is not fooled- and neither is God. He knows our hearts intent, even before our lips utter a sound. If we truly want to live in the light and experience a redeemed and restored relationship with Our Father, sincere repentance must be a daily act of submission for us.

The beauty of our willingness to humble ourselves before the Creator of the universe is that He is always faithful to forgive- and embrace us with open arms.

Luke 15:11-32

11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’

28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

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