The idea of Repentance cannot mean the total annihilation of a sin. Because if so, sin would never ever return.
Someone can repent of Porn use but still lust! To say that You have repented from pornography and no longer deal with the lustful desires that go astray would be quite a fictional statement. It is very hard to believe that lust of others, things, or places does not come up in the human heart, though there is a sincere repentance that the same person has experienced, as seen in his amputation of porn.
Maybe we do not understand repentance well. Maybe how we have been lead is to think it means a total eradication of sins, instead of a moving in a lifestyle of confession, amputation, accountability as contrasted by a hiding of the sin.
Jesus assumed that we are sinners and need daily forgiveness. In the Lord’s prayer (really the disciples prayer) he is very clear in the line, “And forgive us of our sins…” If repentance meant a complete annihilation of sin, never to ever struggle with it, then at some point, we would no longer have sin. Lust would be gone…geed, jealousy, covetousness etc…too! This seems like a move towards the legalism of the Pharisee sect which outwardly showed no sign of sinful behavior, (and talked a good holy talk) yet they could not hide the stench of lust as it seeped out of there pours!
Today’s Church wants to be strong, to be seen as no longer struggling with sins. At times it is tough to see where Pastors themselves need the line, “and forgive me of my sins,” because they never seem to have any!
Without a lifestyle of open confession the need for God seems lame, fake & simply not necessary. God is not so exalted as our all sufficiency when we have no need. You can hear preaching all day long on your need for God, but why is it that you (preacher) need the Christ? What depths of sin do you find yourself in? Is it not His Grace alone that saves you and I from the same Lake of Fire as any of his other saints in the pages of scripture?
Many that come to church hear the same tune; Christ loves you,, He died for you, He saved you from your sins by dying on the Cross. But then the thought comes in the congregates mind, “But I watch porn every night,” I bet he never has done that! Without the ministers own confession of sin and the real showing of need for Christ through that confession then the gulf is present. There is the ‘Holy’ and the ‘not so holy.’
In Romans 7 Paul not only spoke openly of his sin of covetousness, but over and over again shares his inability to get out of the pit of sin though he tries and tires! What a great pattern for us leaders in the Church to share openly with our flock the depravity of our own sin, the wretchedness of our pride and how it crushes those in it’s way.
Repentance cannot mean a total termination of the sin:
Repentance is a calling a spade a spade. IT’s saying the same thing about something that God does. Repentance stands on acknowledgement of sin, confessing it, and moving away from it. This certainly is not a one time act, for the fight against desires that go astray in the flesh will be until the body no longer can hold the Spirit within it. “The body wars against the Sprit and the Spirit wars against the body, so that you do the things you do not wish to so.”
If repentance meant a total eradication of the sin, then the Spirit would not fight with the body any more in that particular area. And that seems a bit in contradiction from what Rabbi Paul is trying to tell us.
There is a constant fight against desires that go astray within the flesh and Paul gives us the details on how it looks in the Galatians 5 scripture. Those that simply continue in the life of the flesh with no heart to move away when approached with such a danger have no place in God’s Kingdom. They do belong to it, or a burdened heart would have shown itself at the sin.
The Christian daily senses this burden of sin, and the need to walk in the Spirit, trusting, leaning, drinking of Jesus.
As we continue to grow in a daily life of repentance we see that God supplies us with new things, which include a new heart, with different desires. No longer do we want to go back, for it no longer fits the ‘new man.’
But this maturity does not come easily, but with years of fighting, through a life of confession. It is through this, ‘coming into the light,” that God has made the way of escape for us! Through daily confession comes greater accountability, which is another gift of God for our joy and His Glory. Through the hands of many come easier labor. Fighting the fight alone is a waste! We will loose. God intended for us to win together, for the benefit of each other!!!
It is only in my confession that others see my need for Christ, and can witness the work of the Holy Spirit to change my heart and mind (repentance), leading me to victory.
May the Lord give the Church a understanding into these things so that we might grow united together in the battle against sin, lifting up one another daily, knowing daily each others struggles in the flesh, that our reliance on Christ would be seen by all though our acknowledgment, confession and move away from destruction to His Glory. When we are weak, He is strong!