Archive for August 23rd, 2013

I came across this chart of “repentance” today.  This is a Bibically  false understanding of repentance.  Why?  If you do not know the answer read below.

Notice that this view of repentance is all man-centered, “climbing Jacob’s ladder”, I would surmise to reach God and  the “Gift of forgiveness and peace”.  One could make the chart above a board game, “Spiritual Careers”.

The  chart above is from a Mormon web-site, but it is the view of too many.  Note that in the first step, “Realize: Know you’ve made a mistake” begs the question:  How?  When I watch celebrities caught in a misdeed,notice it’s when they have been found out!  Then one has a moral epiphany!  We all do when we’re caught. There is only one way to realize I’ve made a mistake…that is sinned against God and done that which is evil in His sight (read again David’s Psalm 51):  God’s Law.  

Lutheran Theologian Gerhard Forde’s most influential book was Where God Meets Man and he employed the metaphor of “going up the down staircase”.    In days past, high schools use to have “up staircases” and “down staircases” with a sign:  “Don’t go up the down staircase”.  The old Adam thinks he can achieve salvation, by going up the down staircase but that is pure works righteousness.  If I or you do the chart above, what’s missing?  Actually:  Who’s missing?  No Lord: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Not a lick about God’s Word.  “Word” is Latin is “verbum” from which we have our word, “verb”:  His Word of Law is a verb causing true sorrow over sin.  His Word of Gospel shows us our Savior so we can repent. In the chart above, salvation is  on us, not Christ. Without Christ, I think I’m standing on the top like the cartoon character: Look at me! Or there could be a cartoon character on the bottom in utter dejection: despair.(see Luke 18:  9-14). Where God meets man is in His Son Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. He came down the up staircase of our self-righteousness.  He meets us where we are, have been and will be. His Word alone.  People dead in their trespasses can’t walk up stairs. He opens the door as He is the door.  His forgiveness causes true contrition and sorrow over sin:  look at Him, sacred head now wounded, with grief and shame  weighed down. He has met man on His Cross. He bore our burden so we can lay ours down, repented in His redemption.  The Three R’s of forgiveness are Redeemed, Reconciled, Repented, right here, right now in the preaching and teaching of the Word.  He has come down the down staircase in His Body and Blood for us all.  

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