When fear is weak, repentance is weak./When repentance is weak, religion is weak.
- Colman mac Beognai, Aipgitir Chrabaid (Irish, 7th century)
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
- 2 Corinthians 7.1
Here are two topics we do not hear much about these days: The fear of God and repentance from sin.
Paul says that repentance is necessary for sins in body and spirit. Without repentance, we cannot press on to holiness. Without holiness, how will it be seen that the holy God is our Father?
Colman concurs: Religion is weak when repentance is weak. "Religion" - from the Latin, religare, to bind back - is that which binds us back to God. But there is no being bound to a holy God if we insist on bringing the baggage of our sins with us.
So repentance is necessary for holiness and for true religion. But what can make us want to repent?
The fear of God.
God, you will recall, hates sin. He intends to destroy forever the deceiver, that fallen angel which leads people to sin and rebellion against God. God hates all sin, and if He is capable of destroying the first cause of sin, what else is capable of doing against sin?
Or against those who insist on holding on to their sins?
We should fear God because He is God Almighty, God Who is able to ruin utterly all who think to oppose His agenda of holiness. If we fear God, we will want to be rid of our sin.
And to be rid of our sin, we will need to repent.
So when we fear God - loving Him at the same time as well - and repent of our sin, we move on in holiness and experience true religion.
Which is what any true believer really wants.
How is it with you and the fear of God? Is repentance a familiar practice with you? Because if these are lacking, their absence may help to explain why your own walk with the Lord lacks pop and progress.
Fear God and repent from sin, and you'll be drawn into His presence and imbued with His power to bring holiness to completion and know the real power and pleasure of true religion.
In your life, what reasons do you have to fear God? And are you willing to repent of those things? Today?
T. M. Moore, Principal