You Can Change
A few years back I was rummaging through some old storage boxes and found my first computer hard drive. I jury-rigged it up to a newer computer, hashed through the folders and found this note from a friend sent via email.
The book I referred to is by Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance. It's a classic.
Here's a basic outline of the main points (scriptures mine):
7 Marks of a True Repenter
1. Sees his sin accurately & knows it offends a holy God (Lk. 15:17-21; Lk. 18:9-14)
2. Has godly sorrow & shame for his sin which leads him to repentance (2 Cor. 7:8-11)
3. Confesses his sin(s) (1 John 1:9)
4. Hates his sin (Ps. 119:104; Prov. 8:13)
"Christ is never loved, till sin be loathed."
5. Forsakes his sin (Is. 55:7; Prov. 28:13)
6. Seeks forgiveness of, and restoration with those he has offended (Lk. 15:17-21)
7. Makes restitution (Lk. 19:1-10; Lev. 6:1-5)
These are adapted from the book; he goes into greater detail.
Good stuff. Thanks friend, and thanks Thomas Watson. This is a serious reminder and instruction on how to repent. Giving a safe harbor for your sin isn’t worth it - ever. It will infect and seethe and devour – it will stink like a warm ice chest full of old fish. Confess it, sink it, blow it to smithereens! Send it to the bottom on the sea.
Repent. Pull out the whole arsenal of Jesus-weapons to obliterate it and make sure it never surfaces again (Ephesians 6:10-18). I’ve listed seven biblical munitions to assist.
1. Flee. Stay far away from those things which tempt (Romans 13:14 – make no provision for the flesh). Whether a person, place or thing – run like the dickens.
2. Ask the elders to pray over you, as you confess your sin (James 5:13-20).
3. Meditate and memorize scripture (Psalm 119:11).
4. Make a multi-daily habit of seeking God through prayer and Bible reading (Psalm 119:10).
5. Walk with wise men, not those who will, or who have lead you down the wrong path – make new friends (Proverbs 1, Psalm 1, Proverbs 13:20).
6. Guard your thought life, think about true and right and pure things. Set no worthless thing before your eyes (Psalm 101:3; Philippians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
7. Work for an affection for Jesus and His glory, treasure Him so that all other lesser glories and idols pale in insignificance in what they offer (1 John 2:15; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Matthew 13:44-46; Matthew 22:37-38).
There’s more help from the Bible. But start with these seven.
To sum up: make a bloody battle of it, kill it, slaughter it, cut it off, show no mercy.
Harboring sin isn’t worth it - ever. And let’s not fool ourselves that’s it’s the other guys problem - we are really all in the same boat. We all need Christ’s power unleashed on the cross to forgive and be forgiven. Jesus came to rescue us and keep us from deadly, life threatening, relationship destroying, hell-full traps. So in Jesus’ name, please, forgive and be forgiven. Repent, confess, bathe in the love of Christ.