Thursday, 16 July 2015

Readers Question: What is the meaning of repentance?

Reader's Question: You mention repentance often on your blog. Could you describe your understanding of what repentance is and what it means?

Answer: Repentance is the acknowledgement that sin really is sin. (Which is the acknowledgement that we are God's children, that God is good, and our choice to take the side of good.)

Repentance is a psychological act that is effective because of the work of Jesus Christ -- If it was not for Christ, then repentance would be merely a state of mind, or a change of mind; but because of Christ it is made effectual - because of Christ, repentance saves. 

In a sense, we are here in order to repent; repentance is in one vital thing we must do, and can always do. 

By this account, pride is simply the refusal to repent - therefore pride is the worst possible sin. All the ultimate wickedness in the world can (crudely) be reduced to this - pride preventing repentance.

 So, life is an adventure with real stakes; but a safe adventure. We must do our best, but we will fail again and again to achieve what we aspire to and to avoid what we want to avoid.

However we are ultimately safe and our immortal souls and eternal happiness cannot be harmed by anything the world can throw at us - so long as we repent in a final and ultimate sense.

Minimally, that is what life is for: to try, fail, repent.