When you think of repentance, what immediately comes to mind? For most of us, it’s sin. We are to recognize it for what it is in our lives, to agree with what God says about it, and turn from it. That’s what repentance is all about, isn’t it? In My Utmost for His Highest, August 22, Oswald Chambers makes a startling statement:
Repentance does not bring a sense of sin, but a sense of unutterable unworthiness.
The more I contemplated this statement, the more I saw its truth. While sin brought about a need for repentance, true repentance will reveal just how unworthy we are. The more we understand the depths of our depravity, the more we realize that the only thing we are worthy of is God’s wrath. We routinely fall so far short of God’s desired best for us that we can’t help but wonder why he bothers with us at all.
Once we start to understand the reality of our sinfulness, we begin to truly appreciate the grace (and mercy) God routinely showers on us. Eventually, we arrive at the point where we realize that, for some reason, God felt that we were worth all His time and effort.
AS I SEE IT
The more I recognize what God has already done in my life, the more I realize how much more work there is to do. It’s one of the disadvantages of growing in our faith. God brings more clarity, and sometimes I wish certain things could remain obscured. God, of course, will have none of that. Once we have given Him permission to perform whatever surgery is necessary, we must accept the results, however painful.
This brings me to the upside of all this. God has been patiently working to bring us to this critical juncture in our walk with Him-the place where we finally understand just how unworthy we are. As long as we think there is even a spark of worthiness in us, Jesus cannot enter and perform the transformational work in us He so longs to do. It is only when we know without a doubt that God has showered His grace on us in spite of our utter unworthiness that we can appreciate His blessings.
Once we have truly repented, we are in a position to accept our unworthiness, but not our worthlessness. God had the end product in mind and deemed us as worth the effort. With this understanding, we can rejoice in what He has for those who are ready to accept it, like this description of the wisdom of God:
Things which eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).
To know that we are supremely valued by God in spite of our unworthiness should lead us to fall on our faces before God, willingly submitting every part of our lives to Him. Indeed, God is love, and we who have accepted salvation through the blood of His Son have reaped the benefits more than anyone or anything in all of creation.