This post was originally going to be longer than it is now, but the first half of my post disappeared into thin air at midnight. Not sure how, but it did.
Anyway, because tomorrow is Easter, I wanted to talk about what it really means, the significance of forgiveness, and how repentance fits into all of it.
Easter is my favorite holiday because we celebrate being forgiven. This forgiveness – the forgiveness of sins – gives us eternal life in Christ. I tweeted this yesterday:
Easter is about life – eternal life, yes, but also our lives now.
Furthermore, I wanted to continue the discussion I started on Tuesday about repentance.
After reading the post multiple times, and reading the wonderful, thought-provoking comments you all left, I wanted to clarify a few things.
I’m not at all against repentance, if that’s what I seemed to imply in Tuesday’s post. For if we deliberately harbor sin in our hearts, we will of course damage our relationship with God. I’m not bashing confession in the sense that I think that we should never come to God about our wrongdoings.
In fact, that’s not it at all.
I only hope to lead us away from an obsession with repentance, one in which we’re constantly walking on eggshells is the Christian life. I don’t think we should live a life in which we’re so obsessed with trying to do what’s right that we make sure we fess up every single time we think we might have done something wrong.
To be totally honest, I don’t believe that’s what God has for us.
We are called to freedom and grace, and no longer do we live under a yoke of slavery to sin.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Instead of living trapped to a life of “try hard>>fail>>confess>>do it all over again,” let us live in grace. Instead of legalism, let us listen to the Holy Spirit.
Now, that’s all well and good in talking about it, but how do we actually carry it out?
What does it really look like to live under grace?
1) Get to know God by reading the Bible.
I’ve written a few posts on this topic. Post 1, Post 2, and Post 3 (in reverse chronological order). The Bible is a blessing, not a burden. But it takes more than just hearing people say that for it to become true for us. Read the New Testament for a fresh view on grace, starting in Romans. You’ll see things differently. You’ll see the contrast between God and man, and how Jesus didn’t just “wipe our slates clean,” He gave us whole new slates.
2) Submit to the work of the Holy Spirit.
You know that nudge you feel when you know God’s calling you to do something? Listen to it. Go talk to that new kid and be their friend. Share your faith with that cousin of yours. Go step out in faith to do something that you feel God wants you to do, even if it seems crazy.
Do you feel God calling you to start a YouTube channel or blog about your faith? Do it! Do you feel like you’re being called to vocational ministry? Pursue that. The Holy Spirit speaks in subtle ways, but by following His leading, we are following God’s will.
3) Continue to pray for a passion for the Gospel.
Pray all the time. Pray that you’d have a desire to live for God. Pray that you’d be used by Him. Pray that He’d show you His plan for your life. Pray that He’d use you in the lives of others. Pray that He would equip you to share your faith – even when it’s absolutely terrifying.
Prayer helps us to advance in our relationship with God, and through it, we come to trust Him more and more.
We don’t need to overemphasize repentance because as we live in submission to the Holy Spirit and our new nature, the desire to sin will decrease.
We don’t need to overemphasize repentance because Jesus’ death has pardoned our sin and given us a new nature.
We don’t need to overemphasize repentance because God does not see our sin when He looks at us – He sees Jesus’ righteousness.
When we’re in the Bible consistently, we see the significance of things like Easter. The Resurrection. Forgiveness that washes away every last one of our sins.
When we keep our ears tuned to what we feel God is leading us to do, we live a fruitful life, and not one of destruction.
When we keep in communication with God through prayer, and see that He answers our prayers, our relationship with Him grows.
Simply, a change of focus is what we need. A focus on the finished work of Christ as opposed to the filthiness of our sins. And so often, that makes a world of difference.
Happy Easter, everyone. Instead of getting caught up in simple traditions, let us remember the true meaning of it all – of sacrifice, of forgiveness, and above all, of hope.