Rev. Dr. Michael Nirva - Senior Pastor
The Importance of Repentance
“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’(Matthew 4:17), He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance,” so wrote Martin Luther in the first of the 95 Theses which he posted on the door of the castle church at Wittenberg.
Repentance is probably something to which we do not pay a lot of attention in our everyday life. Yet it is something that is most essential in our life, as we begin to realize when we consider our station according to the ten commandments. We discover very quickly that we are not living up to the standard which the Lord has set for us. That is why we need the reminder “repent,” and why that needs to be an ongoing thing in our lives at all times.
There needs to be repentance in our hearts because of our lack of enthusiasm for doing the Lord’s work, for the building of His kingdom. Too often we just take for granted that the work of the church will get done, even though we ourselves are not lending too much of a hand to get it done. Instead of lending a hand we are apt to say, “Why don’t they do this?” We see things that ought to be done, but we don’t make a move to get them done. When asked to volunteer some time and effort, we look the other way. We take the attitude, “Let George or Mary, or whoever, do it.”
It takes a lot of little and different things to enable a church to function smoothly, a lot of work that happens behind the scenes. When someone slips up or forgets, people at once take note of it and ask, “Why wasn’t that done?” It is so easy to be critical instead of pitching in to help. This is where repentance needs to occur.
In explaining the first thesis of the 95, Luther asserts that repentance should involve one’s whole life. It calls for turning away from selfishness to a life of service devoted to the Lord. This is repentance,
as Luther says, that can be done in every walk of life, not only by the king, but also by the peasant, not only by the pastor, but also by the parishioner. Repentance is the kind of life that each one of us needs to devote ourselves to.
As heirs of the Reformation, we should be thankful to the Lord for Luther’s reminder to live a life of repentance. We should, out of thankfulness to the Lord, take our time, talents, and financial resources and put them all to work in proclaiming the good news that we are justified by faith without the deeds of the law, that we are saved by grace alone. Out of thankfulness to the Lord for His mercy towards us, we should be faithful and zealous workers in His church. That is the way for us to show that we have repentant and believing hearts. Amen.