THE RECOGNITION OF SIN
AND THE NEED FOR REPENTANCE
“Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness. It is after you have realised that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power – it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk.” CS Lewis “Mere Christianity” Book I Chapter 5
Recently there has been a flurry of revisionist liberal attacks on orthodox conservative Anglicans suggesting that such persons are just as, or possibly even more, culpable as those whom they oppose in the current debate over the place of God’s Word in the Church today.
It would seem that the purpose of such forays is, in reality, to create a smoke screen and/or divert people’s attention from that which is the central issue. The real question is, “Do we accept the Holy Bible – the Divinely Inspired Word of God – as being true and applicable to the world today?” “Are we bound today by The Moral Law given in God’s Word as were those to whom the original Word was written?”
The orthodox conservative Anglican will stand by God’s Word as being the supreme revelation of God to man and His statement of right and wrong that is eternally applicable to His Creation throughout all ages. No such person will ever deny that he/she has no sin in his/her past nor that sin is present in his/her current life. Rather, the orthodox conservative Christian will admit to such sin and come to the Cross of Jesus with sincere regret and repentance in asking for God’s promised forgiveness and for His empowering through His Holy Spirit to be able to walk closer and closer to His righteousness. The orthodox conservative Christian recognises that it is by the free gift of God that he is saved and that it is not of himself but through Christ Jesus and His Cross and Resurrection.
CS Lewis in the above quotation clearly recognises that the Christian Faith requires, albeit demands, such recognition of sinfulness and repentance. It is in such an understanding that God is able to speak to us. Without such a recognition and acknowledgement of personal culpability one is not able to either comprehend or understand Almighty God’s communication.
It is interesting how CS Lewis, writing so many years ago, clearly speaks to those today who wish to claim Christian status while denying sin and the whole requirement of God’s Word – albeit often denying the efficacy of God’s Word in today’s world To these people holiness and the holiness code are anathema. However, it is also in comprehending this that orthodox conservative Christians are able to begin to understand the revisionist liberal mindset.
As we pray for those who do not recognise God’s Word and His Absolute and Unchangeable Moral Law, we must try to understand their mind-set more fully in order to be able to speak to them in a manner that can be meaningful to them. As we pray for them we need to see where they are coming from in order to be able to lead them to their real goal – The Throne of Grace and Righteousness. CS Lewis throws some light upon this for us. Our goal must be to, in love, call them back to recognition of sin in general, their own sin in particular, and the need for the Cross of Jesus in order to be freed from the bonds of sin through regret and repentance.
Please join me in such prayer for those who would rant and rail against the Holy Word of God when they do not agree with it and would attempt to call down those who faithfully stand for the same.