We finished our last post with a discussion on true repentance for sin. When there is true repentance for sin there is evidence of that decision in the form of visible fruit or new results of that decision to change. The motive is to bring God glory by how life is lived. True repentance is visible as a person now is pursuing righteousness in all aspects of their life.
For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter. So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the offender nor for the sake of the one offended, but that your earnestness on our behalf might be made known to you in the sight of God. For this reason we have been comforted. 2 Corinthians 2:11-13 (NASB)
Sin is no longer acceptable to the person who has experienced godly sorrow, especially the sin that led to the repentance in the first place. They may eventually become crusaders for righteousness in the area of previous sin. Many wonderful ministries have been born as a result of repentance! I can think of several who out of repentance began ministries to combat sins such as sexual immorality, drunkenness, pornography, and rebellion.
Another mark of a repentant heart is sorrow at the shame their sin has brought on the name of Christ. Personal humiliation takes a back seat as they understand that by their sin they abused the grace of God in Christ. There is a recognition that Jesus paid for their sin- sin that was committed as a Christian- with the full knowledge that it would be done with the sinners eyes wide open. The sinner looked the gift of grace in the eye and despite knowing the terrible cost to purchase that grace went headlong into their sinful hearts desire. This is crushing and leads to true hatred for everything and everyone that was involved with what they have repented of.
When the sinful act involves unbelievers, the woe and regret of the repentant one is magnified exponentially. The knowledge that they have mocked their Savior's grace and mercy in the eyes of an unbeliever weighs heavily upon their shoulders; one only has to read Psalm 51 to understand that.
Because even repented-of sin carries consequences, there is a healthy fear of being under the chastening hand of God again. There is a heart level desire to honor God and pursue holiness and be completely transformed by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12:1-2).
This is where our repentant sinner finds herself when she is ready to confess her sin to the person or people she has sinned against. All of the aforementioned things take place in the person who has been convicted by God of their sin, experienced godly sorrow which has led to repentance before God. So much of this has taken place in the privacy of her own heart and to this point may have not involved anyone else.
Up until now, the pain and misery have been private as the repentant sinner has dealt with God about their sin issue. Now it is time to reach out and actually confess what has been repented of. We will pick up there next time.