Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.



Luke 15:7

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.”

                                                Acts 3:19


In response to a devotional I’d written a couple of weeks ago, a friend in the church asked a seemingly rhetorical chicken-and-the-egg type of question: “What comes first: repentance or revival?” The question had plagued this person, and I’ve got to say that it started me thinking. You see, as folks within our prayer group can attest, I’ve been talking and praying about revival for a while now. I want everyone to feel the Holy Spirit when they come to our church, and I want His presence evident in all that we do. But in order for us to experience revival, we have to repent (so I think I’ve got my answer to the rhetorical question).


We discussed repentance at one of the prayer meetings, and I was sharing that I remembered when we used to say some sort of confession of our sin. It wasn’t that long ago that we said it, as I recall writing a devotional on that very thing. (Since I can’t seem to find that original devotional, I won’t try to recycle an old one & sneak it in here.) I don’t recall why we stopped saying it, other than perhaps it was done so in an effort to shave off a few seconds from the service (which I don’t agree with, but that’s all I got to say about that for now).

You see, when we as followers of Christ don’t acknowledge the sin in our lives, we fool ourselves, and potentially fall prey to the lies of the enemy. There is not one person—no, not one—who is sinless in this world. We are human. We are in this world. We may be devout followers of Jesus Christ, but we are still sinners, and we will continue to be until we are called Home, or we meet Him in the clouds. We may consider ourselves good people, and good servants, and the like, but we fall short. Yes, even Mother Theresa was a sinner. I’m sorry to say this, but everyone does. Paul reminds us of that in his letter to the Romans: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (chapter 3, verse 23). John tells us in 1 John 1 that “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not within us.” (verse 8)

So, should we just hang it all up? No, gentle reader. But we should confess our sins to Him, for He knows them anyway. That’s step number one. Step number two involves true repentance—that is, the stopping of and the turning away from the sin, and being deliberate in turning to God. Step three—oh step three is that wonderful culmination of the atoning work Jesus did at the cross. Step three entails us receiving forgiveness and reconciliation. Verse 9 in 1 John 1 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Our own Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith defines repentance as “that attitude toward God wherein sinners firmly resolve to forsake sin, trust in Christ, and live in grateful obedience to God.”

There’s also a section within the Confession of Faith that talks about the liturgical aspect of corporate confession and the assurance of forgiveness:
“The confession of sin and the assurance of forgiveness are an integral part of worship, just as they are an integral part of the Christian life. Historically this act is found in one of two places: following the act of adoration or before the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. It is in order to call the worshipers to confession through the use of scripture passages. The prayer of confession follows and often it is most meaningful when prayed in unison. The act of confession is to be followed by a strong affirmation or declaration of pardon. Here again scripture provides the best treasury for such affirmation, and needs no comment of any kind. For example, I John 1:9 is often used: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”(personal note: I promise I used the scripture reference before I copied this). 
Maybe we can consider adding this back to our worship service? Let’s pray about it, all right? 

So that there isn’t any misunderstanding: I’m not advocating that our church become one of those hellfire and brimstone type of churches that used fear to motivate folks to act, nor do I want us to become so focused on sin that we put Jesus back on that cross as if He’d never paid the debt for us, and we become wracked with spiritual guilt. That isn’t how He wants us to live. But it is important to understand where sin is in our lives, to repent of it, and to bask in the forgiveness that His death bought for us. Jesus took the nails, y’all—God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). To God be the glory!


Prayer Requests

  • For Pastor Kevin and Robin
  • For the victims and families and friends who lost loved ones in Sutherland Springs
  • For the current and future Session members
  • For us to know His will and to be obedient to it


See—it’s just so amazingly cool how God’s promises are. For every difficulty we face (repentance), He is faithful to redeem and take care of us (assurance of forgiveness). For every night of weeping, there is joy in the morning. For the gloom of Good Friday, there is the promise of the Resurrection Day. May we all experience His joy and reconciliation.



“When life is not a bed of roses, remember Who wore the thorns.”


“Adam and Eve were the first people to not read the Apple terms and conditions.”