“I’m Sorry” Is Not Enough

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We have a wonderful three year old son who is all boy. He is constantly learning and so am I. When my husband or I correct Kanaan, he says, “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it.” This is often true, but he also says this about behavior patterns he sustains. When we repeatedly correct him for the same behavior and he still replies, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it,” I have to gently remind him that when we are truly sorry we do not continue to do what is wrong.

As Christ followers, we are often in need of learning the same lesson as my son. Scripture calls this repentance. It is the turning away from sin. It is not just an “I’m sorry!” shouted up to the heavens, but a true change in our behavior. Our actions reflect the difference in our heart.

Have you ever been guilty of doing something you knew was wrong and thinking or saying, “I’ll ask for forgiveness later”? Paul reminds us that we cannot knowingly sin and seek forgiveness at the same time. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2) The paradox of sin and grace we frequently try to live is unbiblical. Once we have become followers of Christ, there is no license to sin. Instead, there is a conviction in our hearts through the Holy Spirit to press on toward our goal and high calling—to be in Christ’s image and presence.

If you find yourself chasing after pleasure and self-gratification to only pray for God to forgive you later, you need to be aware that the Lord has standards. He is a forgiving God. That is absolutely true. But, He is also a just God; a holy God. He does not take sin lightly. As His children, He will correct us for our own good.

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.” (Acts 3:19) Our sins cannot be removed unless there is a true change in our attitude and actions. When we pray for forgiveness without repenting, we are not going to receive it. God will honor the prayer of the humble and broken-hearted sinner who seriously intends to live for Him.

Be encouraged this week to examine areas of your life that you may be holding back from the Lord. Is there known sin that you need to leave behind? Do you need to ask Christ for forgiveness from a pure heart and pure motives? We cannot be all He intends us to be for His glory unless we are fully submitted to His will for our lives.

Be blessed!


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