All of Life is Repentance

Today I read an article by Tim Keller. He is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC. I had the privilege of visiting his church when I was in NYC for a mission trip this past summer. He is brilliant. I highly recommend that you become familiar with his ministry, especially if you are considering church-planting or ministering in the city. Those from the bible belt will have to keep in mind that his context is NYC, which is a tad bit different than west Texas. It is called "All of Life is Repentance," and is brief so you should check it out. He compares 2 kinds of repentance. I will leave you with a few excerpts:

"In 'religion' the purpose of repentance is basically to keep God happy so he will continue to bless you and answer your prayers. This means that 'religious repentance' is a) selfish, b) self-righteous, c) and bitter all the way to the bottom. But in the gospel the purpose of repentance is to repeatedly tap into the joy of our union with Christ in order to weaken our need to do anything contrary to God's heart."

"In religion our only hope is to live a good enough life for God to bless us. Therefore every instance of sin and repentance is traumatic, unnatural, and horribly threatening. Only under great duress does a religious person admit they have sinned - because their only hope is their moral goodness. But in the gospel the knowledge of our acceptance in Christ makes it easier to admit we are flawed (because we know we won't be cast off if we confess the true depths of our sinfulness.) Our hope is in Christ's righteousness, not our own - so it is not traumatic to admit our weaknesses and lapses. In religion we repent less and less often. But the more accepted and loved in the gospel we feel the more and more often we will be repenting. And though of course there is always some bitterness in any repentance, in the gospel there is ultimately a sweetness. This creates a radical new dynamic for personal growth. The more you see your own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God's grace appears to you. But on the other hand, the more aware you are of God's grace and acceptance in Christ, the more able you are to drop your denials and self-defenses and admit the true dimensions of your sin. The sin under all other sins is a lack of joy in Christ."