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Repentance Through God’s Promises

As Pastor Gary preached last Sunday on Titus 2:11-15, I was struck afresh at how the promises of God help us to fight sin and repent. The grace of God has appeared, resulting in the Christian’s ability to say no to ungodliness and yes to godliness. This is what repentance is, turning away (saying “No” from the heart) from ungodliness and sin, and turning to (saying “Yes” from the heart) God and His ways.

Now what was so striking to me was the incentive to repent is given in Titus 2:13 as Paul gives the how to how do we repent, “…waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” The way a Christian repents is not simply duty-driven but the Christian repents being empowered by God’s glorious promises, particularly, God’s promise that Christ will return in glory. This sounds very much like 1 John 3:2-3,

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”

John says here that when Christ appears, when Christ comes again, we will be transformed and be like Him because we shall see Him in His fullness. What a sight! But even now, John writes, “…everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” How does the Christian purify himself and repent of sin, living for godliness? The answer is hope in Christ’s coming and being transformed. There is a purifying power in hoping and waiting for Christ. He’s coming! Why waste time with fleeting pleasures? He’s coming! Why spend ourselves for worldly pursuits? Hope in the second coming of Christ empowers us to repent and turn to Christ afresh.

Christian, do you find yourself struggling to repent? Do you find yourself desiring satisfaction from the things of the earth? Then set your mind on the coming of Christ! Think of the glory that will be just to behold Him! Consider that you will be transformed into His likeness in an instant, in the twinkling of the eye even (1 Cor. 15:51-52). Consider the eternal joys with Psalm 16:11 which says of God’s presence, “…in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Join with the apostle Paul and say (Philippians 1:21, 23b):

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”

And as you consider those promises, ask God to work repentance in your heart that you can turn away from ungodliness and the alluring promises of sin to Him and His ways, clinging to the glorious promises of God in Christ! Christ is our greatest treasure and we show that He is by our continually saying no to ungodliness and saying yes to Him and His ways through trusting His promise that He will come again in great glory. There is our hope, there is our treasure!

May we no longer pursue earthly pleasures but pursue pleasures only found in God through “waiting for our blessed hope the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” May we as a church learn to wait more passionately and so live for Him in a way that glorifies Him most!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.