READ: Leviticus 1-3, Psalm 32, Mark 4, Romans 4
The Old Testament law required frequent sacrifices for sin. This is in part because the blood of sin and goats could not cleanse the conscience, but it is also indicative of man’s ongoing need to repent. We have turned repentance into an event, a periodic turning from ourselves and our wickedness. While it is not wrong to periodically examine ourselves, it is better to live a lifestyle of repentance.
The Psalmist points out that the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, whose spirit has no deceit is blessed (32:1). On the contrary, those who try and live with covered sin feel old and tired (vv. 3-4). Nothing saps the life out of us more than pretending to be something we are not, than bearing the agony of guilt on the inside with plastic smiles plastered on the outside. Sin ages us.
When we confess our sin (v. 5) and pray to Him in a time when He can be found – and incidentally that time is whenever we pray (v. 6) – He becomes our hiding place (v. 7). Think of it, ongoing confession of sin is our preservation, it keeps us young. Lifestyle repentance keeps us from trouble, surrounds us with deliverance, and puts energy in our physical bodies. A soft heart before Jesus, a heart that lives repentance, a spirit that knows there is nothing kept secret “but that it should come to light,” is a liberated heart (Mark 4:22). Oh the joy of continual confession, continual turning from self and sin to the Savior.
Let us not be a people whose ritual repentance inoculates us from the intimacy derived from lifestyle repentance. Soft spirits, ever tender to the small promptings and rebukes of the Holy Spirit, are a delight to God. He is gracious enough to accept our large confessions, our seasonal turnings – but God delights in the one who constantly turns to Jesus. Day by day, moment by moment, live a life that repents. Live a life addicted to repentance.