THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFE—A DAILY REPENTANCE
“No matter how earnestly we may try to lead a Christian life, we shall fail of doing many things which we ought to do, and do many things which we ought not to do. We shall never be perfect or sinless in this world. We shall daily need the forgiveness of God, and are taught by the Saviour to pray for it daily. We are constantly dependent on the grace of God. Our life should, therefore, be one of daily repentance.
Retaining God’s Grace—Two temptations must be guarded against, if we would remain in a state of grace and retain God’s favor;
- The first is self-righteousness, or the idea that we are good and holy, and do all that God has any right to expect of us.
- The other is indifference to sin, or a lack of concern whether we live a holy life or not.
Either course is fatal to true religion. We should honestly and earnestly endeavor day by day to do God’s will in all things. But when we have done so, we should realize that we are unprofitable servants who have done much wrong and omitted much good, and whose only hope of God’s continued favor lies in His pardoning grace.
- Self-Examination—We should try to be clear in our own mind what our duty is in every respect. This is to be learned from the teachings of God’s Word and especially from the example of our Lord and Saviour. We should scrupulously compare our thoughts, words and actions with the requirements of duty. We should not gloss over nor find excuses for our failings; but recognize them as sins, and repent.
- Our Sins—If we are honest with ourselves in our self examination, we shall find that we daily sin against God in thought, word and deed. The old nature within us prompts us to all manner of sin; and only too often we heed its promptings. Consequently we are often selfish, cold in our love to God, wanting in faith and trust, unthankful for His goodness, and lacking in prayerful devotion.
We often yield to the temptations of satan and the world, give way to our own desires instead of denying ourselves, are often proud and vain, impatient and complaining. We are often selfish in our dealings with other men, seek our own advantage at their cost, close our hearts to their needs, judge unkindly of them in our thoughts, impute evil motives to them, speak uncharitably of them, and grieve them by unkind words or actions.
We are often inclined to be greedy or stingy or extravagant or idle, to do what is dishonest, to be insincere and untruthful, to harbor sinful desires and lusts, and to cherish envy, hatred, malice and revenge. We often neglect duties in the home, the Church and the State, fail to hallow the Lord’s Day properly, neglect the study of God’s Word, and have too little concern for our own spiritual welfare and for that of our fellow-men. We cannot discover all our sins. We commit many sins which we do not even think of or know.
- Repentance—The sins of which we daily are guilty should fill our hearts with sincere sorrow, with a desire for God’s forgiveness, and with a determination to overcome them more and more by the grace of God. If we thus daily repent, we should believe and be sure that we also are daily forgiven for Christ’s sake.
- Looking Forward—We should neither allow ourselves to be indifferent to our sins nor to be discouraged by them, but should resolve to do better each day than we did the day before.
We should always look forward to higher and better attainment in Christian character and life. We should say with Paul, (Philippians 3:12) “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Our aim should be to grow more and more like Jesus our Saviour. This means a constant struggle; but it is the only way in which we can be faithful to Him.
Only if we do this, can we say at the end of our days, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
Without His help, we cannot succeed in overcoming the forces of evil within and without. When we daily repent of our shortcomings and seek His forgiveness in prayer, we should also pray for grace and strength to overcome them. God will give strength to all who earnestly seek it of Him. We need the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide, encourage and strengthen us.”– Dr. Joseph Stump; AM, DD, LLD, LHD; 1913. (Joseph Stump; 1866-1935)