I sometimes am a repeat confessor
So, sometimes I do something horrific in the sight of God. As the Spirit convicts, I repent. I mean, I repent old school style with tears and gnashing of teeth and such (as if the larger the display the more grace I’ll get). Then, two hours later when I remember what I feel guilty about what I did, I repent again. Two days later, I repent again. Two years later, I still throw in some repentance for that same thing, trying to push away the guilt through something other than faith.
This makes sense from both my prodigal worldview and my Pharisee worldview. It just doesn’t make any sense from a Gospel Worldview.
Prodigal worldview: I have a hard time believing that God would actually forgive me. I am so aware of what a terrible sinner I am and how desperately I have abandoned pursuit of the things that delight the heart of God. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that He could welcome me back into His arms when my clothes still feel like they’re covered with mud from the pig pen. Like Lady MacBeth, I just keep scrubbing at the stains from past sins that have actually been washed totally away by Jesus. Even though I’m as white as snow, I am still haunted by the marksI see.
Pharisee worldview: I have to be a repeat confessor. Because for the Pharisee in me, my ability to stand before God is based on how good I am at following Him. So, my failure makes me feel disqualified and unworthy. Repentence is something I sometimes use as another means to try to make up for my Sin and earn my way back to God’s good graces. If I can just show Him I’m really sorry then maybe that work will merit me a clean slate to start over.
The Pharisee in me will turn even the gift of repentance into a transaction. If I can just repent enough, then I can once again get God in my debt because He owes me because of my faithfulness in repentance. I hear the whispears in my heart when I want something: “God hasn’t given me this blessing because of some sin. If I can just find the sin and repent from it, then God will give me what I want”.
Pick your pendulum swing – the heart of the problem is the same. Every time I keep repenting after repentance is done I proclaim the blood of Jesus is insufficient. I doubt that His blood can cover my sin and I reject the sufficiency of the Cross.
See, the thing is, God has promised that when I confess He is just and faithful to forgive and will cleanse me of all unrighteousness. Why? Because He has attributed to me a perfect life in Jesus and He has attributed to Jesus that very sin I just confessed so it is paid for in full by the blood on the wood at Calvary.
And when I feel unforgiven and prompted to repent to God again two months, two years, two decades later, I go before the throne and say – ‘hey, are you sure Jesus was bigger than my sin? Are you sure He’s strong enough to take that wrath?’
By your grace – today I will believe. I do believe, help my unbelief. Let your Word be my strength and your promises be my hope.