The Forty Days of Repentance have started. The Jewish world is preparing for the High Holy Days, but some of you may be wondering, “What does this have to do with us, the followers of Messiah Yeshua?” For hasn’t our Messiah:
…entered into the Holies once for all—not by the blood of goats and calves but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. (Heb 9:12)
Once we have repented and believed in Messiah, why are we still talking about repentance? Isn’t the “work” finished? Well, if you’re only thinking about the “work” of Messiah on the cross—the “work” that allows us to repent and be made righteous—then, “yes,” the “work” is finished. But that was true when Apostle Paul (Sha’ul), under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote:
…work out your salvation with fear and trembling. (Phi 2:12b)
So, it sounds like there is still some progress to be made and some work to be done… and that really should come as no surprise. Let me ask you a question, “Do you sin, at least now and then?”(In spite of the fact that Messiah has redeemed you from the power of sin?)
I expect that you answered “yes” to that question. If you didn’t answer “yes,” then I would venture that you lied, and well—lying is a sin. The Apostle John spoke of this in the first of his epistles, where he was writing to the community of Faith, to people who have believed and are following Messiah,
If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1Jn 1:8-9)
The ongoing repentance and confession of sins, that we read about throughout the Apostolic Scriptures, is an integral part of our walk as disciples. It is part of “fighting the good fight”( 1Ti 6:12), “running the race” (Heb 12:1), and “cleansing ourselves from all defilement of the flesh” (2Co 7:1).
This is supposed to be a continual lifestyle of self-examination, and openness to the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and to lead us into repentance. It is not something we save up for the “Forty Days of Repentance,” is it? But we all know how easy it is to get focused on the busyness of life and family and work and, yes, even our ministry and service—and lose this focus on “working out our salvation.”
Our Father knows us well and He has given us in His calendar of set apart (appointed) times when we can be reminded of these things and when we can examine our hearts, our minds, and our actions anew. In a way, this is part of His Grace to us. He has set before us signposts to remind us, in our “attention deficit” world, to realign and refocus and repent; without beating ourselves up, but once more realigning with our Lord and Master by His grace and His mercy. Come on this journey with us as we read the signposts and respond.