“Blessed are those who mourn” Matt 5:4
Mourn about what? Is this talking about people who have lost love ones? Are we talking about sad people here? No. We are talking about people who having realized their need for God and now see the sin in their life and repent. But what does it mean to repent – is it just saying I’m sorry? Does is simply mean to change your mind, as it is commonly taught today. No repentance is one of the most basic and most important parts of the Christian life. Without repentance you can never achieve true freedom from sin.
Repentance – a biblical definition from II Corinthians 7:10-11
Sorrow of the world produces death: There are a couple types of sorrow that will kill you. One is self-pity. Feeling sorry for yourself will put you into a downward spiral from which there is no return. Another deadly type of sorrow is that which is born of condemnation. Condemnation comes from the enemy, and it shows up as a general feeling of unworthiness. Condemnation is vague, and depressing.
Godly sorrow which works repentance: In contrast, the Holy Spirit convicts. Conviction is specific and actionable. Conviction always comes with the gift of repentance.
what carefulness it wrought in you: You are careful not to get yourself into situations when you can even be tempted by this sin. Job said he made a covenant with his eyes. Solomon says “Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on.” (Proverbs 4:14-15) In regard to that which you are giving up, this is the way to go – find a way to get around it. Remember also that in 1 Corinthians 10:13 Paul tells us, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”
what clearing of yourselves: You get rid of everything that pertains to it – You don’t keep a stash of porn – or a bottle of booze around for when you loose your resolve. You clear the decks.
what indignation: You take offence at anything or anyone that would draw you, or others, into this temptation.
what fear: You have a healthy realization that sin ends in death. Understand, there is a fear that is right – not a terror, but a respect and understanding. The fear of the Lord is probably best defined as an unwillingness to offend God. Not a fear of punishment, but a fear of separation. Remember when Jesus was in the garden, and prayed for deliverance from the cup He was facing. The thing He wanted to avoid was not the physical pain, but the separation He knew He had to suffer.
what vehement desire: Vehement would be a good adjective for a raging forest fire, like those that hit the West Coast in the fall some years. This repentance should bring you to a place of a ferocious desire for purity in this area of conviction.
what zeal: Zealots usually look crazy. We all know someone who is zealous about something. Some people are zealous with their exercise routines, and some with their finances. The ones that make the news are those who are zealous for their religion and blow something up. I met a man who would chain himself to abortion tables, or clinic doors, because he was zealous for the unborn. In the case of repentance – you are ready to be outspoken about the evil of this thing, and you will do what ever you can to dissuade other from taking up this sin.
what revenge! Finally revenge. Your passion leads others from going this way, and so you break the power of sin for you and those around you.
All that being said, true repentance is actually a gift of God according to God’s Word in Acts 5:31 and 2 Timothy 2:25. God only gives gifts He intends for you to use, and they are powerful. When you repent in this way, God's intention, and promise is that you can be free from the sin He has brought to your attention.
So, how do I know if I have been given repentance? You will know if you sense conviction. Conviction is a specific realization that something you have done has offended God. Not some vague condemnation that you are not good enough, but you know that you know that what you did is wrong. If you have been given repentance, that means God will also give you the freedom from that sin in the future. True repentance can set you free from sin, as God leads you through the process listed above.
“for they shall be comforted.” – Comfort is a misunderstood commodity.
Often when we think of comfort we think of someone patting us on the knee and saying, “there, there, it will all work out alright.” So when we think of the Holy Spirit, our “comforter” that is what we are thinking. That the job of the Spirit of the living God is to whisper platitudes to us when we are feeling sorry for ourselves. That could not be further from the truth.
The word comfort is the same word used to describe the Holy Spirit, Comforter. It means one who comes beside to give strength and help in time of need. It looks nothing like that “poor baby” picture we can easily conjure up. I heard a preacher say once that the idea was that of a tug boat coming along side a huge ship to guide it through tricky waters. The Tug though small is very powerful, and has complete expertise in navigating the tricky waters ahead.
So then, those who mourn over their sins will find that the Holy Spirit comes along side, and gives them the strength and direction they need to walk out true repentance. There is a comfort and confidence that comes from victory over sin.
Are you feeling blessed yet? Come back tomorrow for step 3!
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