We are in the 10 Days of Awe – a time of reflection and repentance for God’s people between the Day of Trumpets or Yom Terauh and The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur.
Throughout biblical history this has been a solemn time of inward reflection. Before Yeshua/Jesus Yom Kippur was the day of atonement for ALL Israel. The nation on that day would be covered by blood sacrifice, given by the high priest, for all the sins of that year and so the 10 days leading up to that event was a time to deeply reflect and confess all sin that needed to be covered and atoned for.
Now that Messiah has come and has covered our sins in His own blood, we look to Him as our own High Priest and these days as a memorial and a remembrance of his great love and sacrifice on the cross.
In these “Days of Awe” we do indeed stand in awe of our Savior who gave himself as ransom for His people. And out of that great love and adoration of Him we also evaluate our hearts and return to our knees in order to repent of any sin, seek His forgiveness, and rejoice over his great love expressed in grace and mercy towards us.
This morning I was talking with my children about repentance – because we all needed some after seeking our own way- and in our midst I heard the Lord say to me, “Teach them about the Key to the Kingdom-teach them about Repentance.” And so we sat down and talked about what true repentance looks like. And I drew up this graphic to put a picture to it, to have our eyes see what He wants our hearts to know.
True repentance is 3 fold: sorrow over sin, confession to God and man, and then a turning away from that sin to go and sin no more.
Will we fail, fall, and falter? Absolutely. But should that stop us from entering into genuine repentance? NEVER! In fact that should lead us fast and furiously into even more repentance!
In fact in 2 Peter 3:9 the Lord tells us that He is patient with us in hopes that all would come to repentance. Because He knows that repentance is our entrance into His atoning work on the cross. There is no rebirth, no salvation apart from true repentance. So really repentance IS the key that unlocks our salvation. It is our participation in the covenant between us. He initiated covenant with Abraham, fulfilled the covenant in his perfect Torah observant life, sealed the covenant through His blood, and invites us to enter into it by way of repentance. All the small moments of repentance- the ones over our attitude, our choices, and our mistakes are really just a patterns, pictures, and practice of our ultimate heart of repentance towards the King. He gives us the small so as to not miss the big!
But repentance also does something else. When we turn the key of repentance in our life it flips our natural order of the flesh upside down and our order begins to look much more like the kingdom of God. Repentance turns everything on its head and restores it to its rightful place- being upside down.
And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”- Matthew 20:24-28
Repentance dethrones us as our own God, and restores Yeshua/Jesus as the King of the kingdom in our own lives. It moves us away from the idolatry of self worship and into right relationship and worship of our Creator and King.
It is interesting that to unlock something you have to turn the key. Even if the key fits and is in your hand, if you don’t turn it, it does nothing- it is just a useless piece of metal.
You have to turn the key if you want to unlock the door!
It is the same with repentance, it isn’t just mere words, you can’t just feel it in your heart, true repentance always involves a turning.
Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Our God is so good and loves us so much His forgiveness abounds! Won’t you join me in these “Days of Awe” to look to our Maker and in humility confess our sins before Him? To cry out with me to Him for our Nation? And for each of us, to turn the key of repentance and to walk away from our encounter with Him in Awe and with a new desire to “Go and sin no more.”