Most of us don’t realize that we need to repent.
“I’m pretty good,” I might think. Or, “I’m certainly not as bad as that other guy,” and in the eyes of other people, that might be correct.
But there are some important things that we need to remember. While we might think that other people are the ones that we need to impress, they are not. Other people will pass away just like we will. God is the only one that will continue on and last forever. He and his kingdom will never pass away.
And knowing this, it becomes even more important that we understand what king David said in Psalm 5:
The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong;Psalm 5:5
If we truly believe what David says here, then we should immediately be concerned. He says that anyone who does wrong, anyone who sins, is hated by God. That doesn’t mean anyone who sins a lot, God hates. It means, if you have done wrong…you are hated by God.
In fact, it gets worse. If you are arrogant, you can’t stand in God’s presence.
And I think that this is the crux of what it means to come before God. We each have sinned. No doubt about that. And we each deserve punishment for our sin. No doubt about that either. But as we come before God in our sinfulness, are we arrogant? Or are we repentant? That is what makes all of the difference.
When God sent Jesus, he sent a man named John the Baptist to go before Jesus and call people to prepare the way for Jesus to come. And what was John’s message? He called the people to repentance. Their repentance would be the attitude, the only attitude and state of their heart, that would allow Jesus to be known to the people. Without repentance, they couldn’t know him.
Jesus preached a similar message. Over and over he called the people to repentance and through his calling them and their repentance, they could approach him. Look at the message of the parable of the prodigal son:
The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.Luke 15:21-22
Jesus tells this story, this parable, showing that this younger son was repentant of what he had done. He had taken half of his father’s wealth, gone to a distant land where he wasted the money on drinking and on prostitutes, and then returned back home because he was out of options. He could no longer eat, and this drove him to repentance, to admit his sin, and to even ask his father to become one of his servants instead of being accepted back into the family as the father’s son.
But the father wouldn’t hear it. He immediately called his servants to set up and throw a party. He was so excited that his son came home, so excited that he came in repentance and not in arrogance, so excited that he was lost but now was found again.
So God puts an incredibly high value on repentance. He doesn’t want, and won’t put up with, arrogance that suggests that we are in the right. We are not. He knows it, and we know it. But someone that will approach him in repentance, he will immeditately accept him and rejoice over him!