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The Purpose of

27 October 2022

Our only hope of
righteousness is to be
found in Christ

Recently, in my Bible reading for this year, I came to King David’s great prayer of repentance in Psalm 51, after he had committed both adultery and murder:

Have mercy upon me, O God,
   According to
     Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of
     Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
   Wash me thoroughly
     from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
   For I acknowledge
     my transgressions,
   And my sin is always before me….
Behold, I was brought forth
     in iniquity,
   And in sin my mother
     conceived me.
— verses 1-2, 4-5

This reminded me that, often, we feel we must repent so that we may become righteous again. In a sense this is true, but we need to understand this correctly; otherwise, our repentance will actually become a form of self-righteousness. We need to be clear that the purpose of repentance, as in the case of David above, is not to make us righteous in ourselves. Rather, it is to make us unrighteous, so that we return to Christ as our righteousness.

In brief, the purpose of repentance is to transfer us, in terms of our experience, out of ourselves and into Christ. Our sin causes us to realize we have no righteousness in ourselves, and our repentance is our confession of that fact.

Thus, genuine repentance is our agreement with God’s judgment, and submitting to His judgment, that in ourselves there is nothing good, and we are only worthy to be judged. There is only one Righteous (1 John 2:1), only one who is good (Matt. 19:17), and our only hope of righteousness is to be found in Him:

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
— 1 Corinthians 1:30; cf. Philippians 3:8-9

Lord, grant us such a full and genuine repentance that we would forsake our own righteousness, turning from ourselves to You to be found in You!

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— 27 October 2022 —