The gift of repentance

"Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person – and he would not need it. " - Mere Christianity, p. 57, by C.S. Lewis

I think one of the biggest regrets I have about the theology I was taught as a child was the perception of God as a passive actor in salvation. 'Sure he calls us to repentance, but he doesn't MAKE us repent! We do that!' To which I now reply, "If God doesn't change our hearts, how could we---'DEAD in our trespasses' (Eph 2:1-10)--ever repent? How can a dead man become alive?" I don't want to start into that murky conversation about free will. I honestly have no idea where reality truly falls on that count. I just want to note that, without God's direct intervention, conviction by His Holy Spirit, and radical grace through Christ, I never would have believed.

I find His gift of belief one of the most precious parts of existence and it pains me to see how ignored, watered-down, and so quickly dismissed it is by many Christians. Praise God who knows and softens hearts (Jerm 17:8-9) even when those hearts give the credit to their own free independence. God help us (me!) for our stubbornness and pride.

Jenny Smith

3705 Oceanview Drive, Denton, TX, 76208