Contrition and Repentance

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we enter February, preparations for Lent have already begun. Planning and preparing services during this time of the year starts to refocus my attention on a different sentiment, the one that goes with the season of Lent, namely contrition and repentance.

One of the passages that usually comes to mind is Psalm 51. Verses 1 & 2 read:

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

The first thing we need when it comes to contrition is to recognize our sin, acknowledge our sin, and be truly sorry for our sin. David does all of this in the first verse. And as the Psalm goes on, David does this even more. So I ask you, do you recognize your sin problems? The sins you commit in what you say? The sins you commit in what you do? The sins you commit in what you think? Are you acknowledging all these sins to yourself and to God? Are you truly sorry for the sinful things that you have said, done, and thought? Have you confessed them to God?
And if you have, and I pray that you have, then you are ready to move on to repentance.

Repentance includes contrition, and it also includes faith. Faith in Jesus Christ, who can and will forgive your sins. Faith that forgiveness is a reality and is powerful and effective. Faith that your sins are forgiven completely, without any exceptions. This kind of faith embraces the forgiveness that Jesus gives, and claims it as the gift of grace that was intended. This kind of faith walks away from sin, comforted and filled with joy. This kind of faith strives to move past the past, and toward a more God-pleasing future.

In verse 2, we hear David have the kind of faith that trust in a thorough cleansing from sin. This kind of cleansing comes to us in our baptism. It comes to us through the pronounced absolution from the pastor in a worship service. And it comes to us as we receive our Savior’s body and blood in Holy Communion. This kind of cleansing can come in prayer also, however when we are physically hearing it pronounced and feeling it touch us, its reality becomes that much more tangible. That is why God has given these means to help us feel the forgiveness of our sins even more.

So come to God’s house, and feel His forgiveness for yourself, and find great comfort, joy, and peace from His hand!

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Paul Pett

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