The Work of Repentance – 6-16-22

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Second Corinthians chapter 7 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Corinthians’ Repentance

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

The Corinthians’ Repentance

Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.

For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the [a]consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.

For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.

The Joy of Titus

13 Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Corinthians 7:7 comfort

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Acts 4:12- “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Today Paul’s writing starts with REPENT. We have the promises, we know the lessons, we know we need unity, and we can apply all of this to ourselves personally and well as to our nations and people – which could cause a global change.

So repent. It starts with ourselves. Every day, I pray that god will show me my wrongs and correct me – like a loving Father. Sometimes a parent must be hard on their children. Sometimes correction hurts.

Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.”

And when it hurts children’s eyes often glaze over and they harden their hearts. I remember the first time I saw my son shut down. I grabbed him so quick and hugged him. I was so mad – but my love for him and desire for him NOT to harden his heart was greater.

Paul love the church at Corinth like a parent loves their children. Paul is a great example of Godly Love.

I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.” 

Paul tries to explain it is NOT condemnation, no judgement is brought against them. It is pointing out an area that needs correction and how they should be doing it because he loves them. If they are to live and die together, they need to be in unity and living this life the right way together.

Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.”

Paul is bold towards them – firm, strong, and hard on them. On us too. But Paul also talks about how wonderful they are to everyone with as much gusto. You see they were doing a LOT right. But we aren’t talking about that – the letters are about what they did wrong.

When my son was a teen, he challenged me at every turn. He was a team player on team mommy and such a great, sweet and loving boy, until hormones gave him pimples and short circuited his brain. If you spoke to me at that time about my son, you’d hear my frustration and how he disobeyed and could possibly walk away thinking I had a terrible child. But, he was not a bad kid. Over all, I was extremely blessed to have a wonderful child. He never kept his room clean and he didn’t do his chores without a fight. But he got good grade, was in sports, theatre, community service and he kept a job every summer from the time he was 14. He was a happy and productive member of society. This is similar to us reading their parental venting, and corrections, and admonishments, and love towards the Corinthians. We are only seeing the frustration with the chores not being done and we aren’t seeing the rest.

So Paul reminds them of the good parts and how they encouraged him.

So now Paul will discuss their reaction to that letter of tears. For those just joining us – there are a few theological thoughts on this letter. One of the most popular thoughts is that there was a third letter written to the Corinthians from Paul between the 1st letter and this letter which we call 2nd Corinthians. This letter was lost in time and we have nothing to prove its existence except Paul referring to it a few times in this letter.
Another common school of thought is that the 1st letter (1 Corinthians) was the letter of tears. It did have stern and firm correction without much flowery softness, especially when you place it back in the context of the social customs and laws of the time.

Whenever that letter was written – it appears they read it and initially responded with hands on their hips and their heads moving sharply from side to side, and a billowing voice with a great big: Just who does Paul think he is talking to ME like that?! How dare he! As their faces grew red mad.
Paul seems to have received a report and called it making them sorry.
Then Paul was running for his life again in his ministry and really needed encouragement and Titus came and found him and brought news that even though the church at Corinth was initially mad about the letter – soon it worked its way into their hearts and they repented!

For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.”

Not only had they repented – but they did love Paul too!! And so now that Paul rehashed and defended himself again, and now that he reminded us to be reconciled and get into unity, now Paul can finally start this letter in love to his church family.

For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while.”

Paul felt bad, and regretted sending the letter when people received it wrong and did not repent.
Let me tell you – I have had God tell me clearly to say something and get spit in the face. And I regretted it! I looked up to heaven and asked why, why did you have me go tell them that? And literally God said that is not mine to know. So I understand what goes through my own mind when you think you have obeyed God, you are expecting a repentance and you get an angry response in return. I questioned if I even heard from God. I mourned for the person’s inability to get humble and repent. I couldn’t sleep at night because my mind spun through everything and all the what if’s.

If you are going to share Jesus with others – you must resolve that any rejection is NOT them rejecting you, but them rejecting God. You must know some will reject God and not repent, not now and not ever. You need to not think on it or regret it – and know God is still working, God may take your words and cause a repentance later. And with some God will keep trying to reach them to the very last second. It is God’s work. We are just to share our witness, our experience that we were once one way and He made us another way.

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

When I was a teen I developed an image in my head of this Paul – he was stoic, firm, always hit hard and to the point, demanded perfection, overly confident and always right. I did not like Paul much. In acts we saw Paul make jokes, and in multiple books we have learned he is very sarcastic. We know he is super passionate and loving. And here we learn, that he isn’t always confident, never wrong, and he is still learning. You see we all know earthy sorrow leads to death, depression, hardened hearts, etc.
Paul learned through this situation that there is a godly sorrow that produces repentance, a soft heart, and more Christ-like fruits in us.
When godly correction works in us, we catch a glimpse of God. A small hint or God’s full out Glory will produce the same sorry, the same sorrow – that oh so good repentance!
When Isaiah saw God’s glory he cried out in anguish:
“Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5 NKV

11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”

Diligence. Yes, when I ask God to correct me – show me where I am wrong and I am able to repent, I do develop a form of diligence – of me diligently striving for Him and His will. It’s a clearing – my name is cleared of that offense and that sin.
Indignation is an interesting choice of words – at least in our modern conversation.
“Some common synonyms of indignation are anger, fury, ire, rage, and wrath. While all these words mean “an intense emotional state induced by displeasure,” indignation stresses righteous anger at what one considers unfair, mean, or shameful.” – Merriam-Webster Thesaurus online
SO, like Isaiah, who anguished in shame, felt the righteous indignation at the sin in himself. Do we hate sin this much?
Next up is fear – Paul refers to the fear of the Lord – the kind of fear that makes you realize your shame in contrast to the HOLINESS of God.
Vehement desire and zeal! What beautiful word choices! Fervent longing and enthusiasm! Passionate yearning and eagerness! Intense aspiration and fervor!
This is an emotionally messy and complicated process – the process of repenting! But in the end it leads us to vindication!!

Paul’s letter shook the church. We have a shacking going on in our world right now! For years I have been saying God is coming in judgment and that time is now! We are seeing it all around us. God is removing pastors who are not lions and generals – who are not Joshua’s ready to march us into the promise land. Those weak churches are closing – God is unifying HIS people. Denominational lines are being crossed. Since churches closed during covid lockdowns – the people went online and learned of other churches. I shared how God gave me a dream of the church I was in being judged and destroyed and he told me to leave. Well – the judgments have started. Before He can shake our governments or the plans of the enemy – he must start in the church.
Our choices are either to judge our self, get humble and repent – or be publicly judged by God. The first choice leads to vindication the second choice leads to embarrassment, loss, humiliation, and more. There is NO third choice. There is no: ‘I am perfect and have no need to repent’.  Repentance include humility – the kind of humility that moves God.

God was giving me so many downloads on this coming judgement back in 2020 that I thought we missed the boat on having the time to repent. But, I told those who would – that it is time. It is not a time to rejoice at the altar that our names are in the Lamb’s Book of Life – it is time for faces on the floor at the altar. If we truly learn humility and a contrite heart… if it an “If my people” moment. If we get humble – then he will save us.

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV

“12 Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.”

This is a wonderful way of describing being compelled by a godly love.

13 Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.

So Paul tells Tutus all the great things about his church – Titus goes to visit and comes back and reports it is all still true. And they have repented! It is like when I fought with my son to clean the kitchen for a day! Then I leave to get groceries and when I return it is finally done and my son asks if he can go spend the night at his friend. I say yes – I am confident that I can trust him. Even though he has areas (like chores) that he struggles with.

I am passionate and hard sometimes in this blog and in my other sharing – but we are in a house on fire! I cannot risk being demur and sweet and begging – a pep talk or self-help guidance is NOT getting you out of the burning house fast enough. I don’t have time to even help you come to the right answer on your own. Get humble, get low – and crawl out now. Or you will die.

On top of all of that, none of us are promised tomorrow. If you died right now will you make it to heaven? Have you asked Jesus to be your savior and repented of your sins? Have you confessed him with your heart?

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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