“I’M SORRY, I’M SORRY! I’M REALLY SORRY!”
“Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
I believe in repentance for sin. I believe in godly sorrow for sin. I believe in the absolute forgiveness of all sins confessed and forsaken. Most Christians believe we can come humbly to the throne of God with our burden of sin and pray, “Lord, forgive me. I’m sorry — I repent.” And we go our way seemingly assured we really are forgiven.
Yet too often many believers keep replaying past sins and failures and fall back into condemnation and guilt. That is when they go to the Lord and start confessing the same sins over and again, as if the first heartfelt confession did not take. With all the feelings and tears they can muster, they cry, “Lord, I’m so very sorry! Please forgive me.”
I hear from Christians who tell me they can’t believe they’re truly forgiven because their sin was so hideous, so awful, a sin against so much light. They cannot accept forgiveness. So they live with constant sorrow.
This kind of “sorry” demeans the grace and mercy of Christ. It is putting trust in a fleshly frame of mind rather than the finished work of Christ’s cleansing blood. The first time you said, “I’m sorry, Lord — I repent. I believe in the power of Christ’s blood to cleanse me” — you were wholly, immediately forgiven. Your sins were cast into the depths of the sea, never to be reminded of them again.
It is time to trust the Lord’s total victory of the Cross and not our own measure of sorrow. It is time to quit looking back and instead begin to glory and rest in unmerited forgiveness. God delights in his children; he is not mad at you.
Like David, our sinful past ought to humble us and create in us contriteness. David’s sin was always before his eyes, but his soul rested in God’s mercy and tender loving kindness.
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (Psalm 32:1–2).
Thank you for your help in reaching the poor and needy throughout the world. For information on our charitable outreaches, go to our website: www.worldchallenge.org/missions.
In Christ, DAVID WILKERSON