Two - Attitude: Repentance and Redirection
Romans 5 (Read entire chapter)
Biblical Repentance is a sincere feeling of regret or sorrow for thoughts words and deeds, a changing of the mind, or a turning from sin to God. Redirection is the action of assigning or directing something to a new or different place or purpose.
First let’s start this life lesson by understanding that - biblical repentance IS redirection, but redirection is NOT always biblical repentance. Please listen to me on this.
Repentance is not repentance unless there is a redirection.
Hosea was called to confront not only his wife, but an entire nation about repentance and redirection for their behavior and choices. Both his wife and the nation of Israel, had a bad habit of repenting but never redirecting. Both had a terrible habit of always being sorry - but never changing anything. What do you think about that, is that really repentance? Could you love or live with someone who was always sorry for their habitually bad behaviors and for making consistently bad choices, yet never changing any of it? Don't answer that yet...
Because this is precisely where we (you and I) connect with Hosea's story and his bizarre personal life. The connection points should be fairly obvious.
The bible is clear that as true believers and followers of Christ, we live in His grace. Here are two complete biblical truths about the grace of God. One - It is completely true that His grace allows us the freedom to live sinless before God. Two - It is also completely true that God's grace does not allow us the freedom to live in rebellious and unrepentant sin before Him. So the whole truth is that grace never gives us the freedom to live IN SIN - but rather the freedom to live IN CHRIST - sinless. To live in Christ is to live with a heart and love for Him, knowing that everything He sees and knows about us did not keep Him from loving and choosing us (grace). God chose to give His own life for our sins and now sees us through the lens of the love and forgiveness of His sacrifice for us - that is how He maintains a right heart towards us. Repentance and Redirection are the day to day vehicles that God gives to us for maintaining the right heart for Him as well as within ourselves. Repentance and Redirection also allow us to maintain a correct balance of those two complete truths about grace. There are some completed truths regarding this that we do know.
When you and I sin, it is a good and healthy practice to repent of our sin and redirect our ways.
There is a lot of good conversation to be had about daily repentance and intentional redirection as it pertains to our walk of faith in Christ. I don't know if ours will be all that is needed of that conversation, but it will certainly be a healthy portion of it. Some interpret the bible to say that once we accept Jesus, we live in His grace, and repentance and redirection are no longer needed (works). And, many interpret the bible to say that in order to honor that grace, and to display our love of Christ and His gifts to us, that repentance and redirection are essential to keeping His grace from becoming disgrace in our lives (relationship). One good indication that repentance and redirection are not only appropriate but necessary, is the Holy Spirit (active presence of God). If the Holy Spirit is convicting us (challenging us) in that behavior or choice, there is a reason for it and if there is a reason for it God has made a provision for it. We can say we are forgiven and covered by grace, but if that is completely true, then why do we feel the shame and regret if repentance and redirection are not needed? Humility, contrition, and reform are completely appropriate. Yes, Jesus did His work - now let's do ours. Understanding grace is more about our attitude than it is about our rights as believers and followers of Christ. What true follower of Jesus wants to openly rebel, compulsively violate and continually disappoint Jesus and not give it a second thought?
Sins of parents can have horrible effects on their children.
We have all heard of the belief in generational curses. There are a couple manifestations of that that people often gravitate to. One is - "my mom was this way, so I am this way, my grandfather and my father had this behavior, so I will have this behavior. The other generational curse belief is - "I will never be successful, I will never be free, I will never be blessed because of the sins of my family before me." Now there is an element of truth to both beliefs - we've seen it and some have lived it - the scripture says as much. Sin has consequences.
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.
I Corinthians 15:22
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
Now, we have to stop right here and reconcile the truth about the gospel of Jesus and His very clear plan for redeeming us from the curse of sin and death. Not only the curse our sin - but the curse of the sin of our fathers.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
John 8:31, 36
If you abide in My word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
So the conclusion and absolution of this generational curse comes about through the forgiveness of our sin by Jesus Christ. He breaks the curse over our lives from all sin (committed by us and committed before us). There are most always natural consequences as the result of our sin - and difficulties to face because of it. However, there certainly are no spiritual consequences or judgments passed on to us for those who are truly repentant and redirected in Christ Jesus.
Every good and perfect gift comes from God and not from anyone else.
One day Jesus told a man, "only God is good." This is not only important for us to know, but essential to our day to day wisdom in managing and overcoming the difficulties and disappointments of life. When life is difficult and disappointing it does not mean that God is not good. When we do not get what we want when we want it, again, it does not reflect on the character of God. God is still good - life sometimes is not so good, period. Remember, even against the awesome fact of suffering (sometimes our own), God is still good. Because He is good, we embrace the truth of who He is, in the face of circumstances that cause us to doubt Him when He does or does not do what we want Him to do. When people decide to reject who God is (Good), they, in reality, have made the conscious decision to reject God. Not that there is a time, but, difficulty and disappointment are never the times to reject God. On the contrary, it is the time to accept and embrace Him - all of Him. When we do that the goodness of God will surely come find us.
God is continuously calling His disobedient people back to Himself and has a plan to help us overcome human sin and restore us to High places and High purposes.
Even though there were life altering consequences and judgment for their sin, both Hosea's wife Gomer and Israel found out - God's love for them would make a way of restoration - but only through genuine repentance and decisive redirection for behavior and choices that impacted their children and generations to come. In Jesus Christ you and I have that way of salvation and restoration - this is God's plan. News flash, we are human, and because we are human we are subject to failure, imperfection and even sin. But thanks be to God in Christ Jesus we have a Savior and Redeemer. His plans for us do not include us destroying our lives and the lives of those we love with our sin and failure. As believers and followers of Jesus we have been given day to day, moment by moment access to God Almighty. When we fail, when we sin, and when our imperfections are exposed we can come humbly to Him and repent and redirect. He sees us because of what He has done for us through the suffering, sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus. Our repentance honors God for what He has done for us, our redirection glorifies God in how we live our lives going forward. His plan is not to put us down but rather to raise us up, to elevate and initiate us into His plans and purposes for our life.
2 Chronicles 7:14-15
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.