Unrepentant

Is there anything more personally destructive than an unrepentant heart?
The answer is no. According to the dictionary to be unrepentant is “having or exhibiting no remorse.” Despite the knowledge of personal sins, the unrepentant heart feels no remorse and is busy planning the next wickedness. This heart holds on to grievances, clings to wickedness, revels in the memories of vengeance in the past, and searches for cruel advantage over others. No amount of preaching gets through to the unrepentant heart for it does not hear. Suspicion rules the mind; everyone is evil, all plans are schemes, all words are lies, and all laws are meant to be broken.

Jesus Pronounces Woe
“Woe” is a term no longer in popular use but it is the right word for the pronouncements of Jesus here. It means, “grievous distress, affliction, or trouble.” At first glance, we may see anger in Jesus’ words. If anger is there, there is also something else in greater measure—grief. Jesus speaks from a broken heart. He did not pass through these cities to bring them woe, but to bring them blessing. Jesus and His men had walked through the marketplaces of Chorazin, Bethasaida, and Capernaum. He had preached the Good News and performed healing miracles without number. Demons fled at the sound of His voice, leaving clean but exhausted souls in their wake. Many people repented of their sins and started new lives.

Times have not changed.
Today the unrepentant heart retains its destructive power. God gave man a conscience, an innate knowledge of right and wrong. When Adam and Eve sinned, humankind lost its innocence and began to violate this conscious. God gave the Law to make the matter clear and He raised up the priesthood to teach the people the difference between the holy and the profane. With a repentant heart, the Old Covenant worshiper could get forgiveness and a brand new start each year. Those who refused to repent continued to accumulate sin and eventually brought woe on themselves. When unrepentant souls gained enough power to corrupt the nation, God lifted His protective Covenant and enemies conquered them. The only solution was spiritual renewal—a call to repentance and a renewal of true Worship. This happened time and again.

Under the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit convicts the sinner of his/her guilt and need for a Savior. The Spirit then points the guilty one to Jesus, the Sin Bearer. Repentance of sin and faith in Christ starts the repentant one on a brand new life, a life full of blessing not woe. We are now in the Marketplaces tell the Jesus Story. Through He is calling for repentance. Many will not listen but some will.

Is there anything more life changing than a repentant heart? No.

Scriptures:
Matthew 11:20-24
Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”
1 Timohty 4:1-3
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron…
1 John 1:8-10
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
2 Corinthians 7:10
For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Prayers of Repentance:
From The Book of Common Prayer (adapted SRP)
Most merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved You with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I am truly sorry and I humbly repent. For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ have mercy on me and forgive me; that I may delight in Your will, and walk in Your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God has mercy on me. He forgives me all my sins through our Lord Jesus Christ. He strengthens me in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keeps me in eternal life. Amen.

Song:
Just As I am
Words: Charlotte Elliot; Music: William B. Bradbury

1. Just as I am, without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

2. Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

3. Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

4. Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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