What would you say are the qualities (for lack of a better word) of a healthy, growing disciple? You might say consistent time in God’s Word and prayer, sharing the Gospel, discipling others, and you would be right! But I want to suggest that one of the greatest markers of spiritual health that we rarely define as an important marker is repentance. Why do I say that? A life that is marked by repentance is a life marked by continual pursuing God.
In our passage today, we see a negative example of repentance—meaning they weren’t actually repenting at all. The people of Israel show no remorse for their sin. What does it look like to live an unrepentant life? Verse 8 gives us a clue: “Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples.” Unrepentance makes you look like the world—there is nothing that sets you apart from it.
This should serve as a warning to us. In this passage we see a negative example of what it looks like to not repent from sin. I want to leave with an encouragement and vision for what it looks like to live a life of continuous repentance. One of the most helpful things I’ve found in regards to repentance I found from Heath Lambert. It comes in the form of an acronym:
CAR — Confess your sin, Accept the Gospel, Request grace to change.
I love this way of thinking of repentance because it really gives some meat to what it means to turn from your sin. It begins with confessing your sin to the Lord; this in itself is an acknowledgement that you are in need and recognizing that only God can meet it. But confessing your sin must be met with accepting the Gospel. Yes you are a sinner, but you are never far enough to be out of reach of the Gospel, and you’re never so good that you don’t need it. Finally, we have to acknowledge that only the grace of God can truly bring about the life change that we desire to have.
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice