Repentance vs. Perfection

Sometimes I don’t pay enough attention to the negative statements in the Bible. 

Case in point: Psalm 7:11-13

Psalm 7 is a Psalm of David, appealing to the Lord to save him from his enemies. A familiar theme, yes. But then I read these three verses:

God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day.
If a man does not repent (emphasis mine), He will sharpen His sword;
He has bent His bow and made it ready.
He has also prepared for Himself deadly weapons. (Psalm 7:11-13)

God, as a righteous judge, will bring his judgement on whom? Those who transgress? Yes, but there is a condition. Not just those who sin, but those who do not repent. 

As I mulled this over, it struck me that it is this attribute— repentance— that sets David apart from others. He sinned, yes. Sometimes even as a clear choice, as in when he numbered the people. Yet he always repented. Not just an “I’m sorry, God. Now please make it all better,” but a true repentance, a godly sorrow along with an acceptance of the consequences to follow. And a moving forward with a firm belief in God’s forgiveness. 

I, on the other hand, so often put the emphasis on perfection, not repentance in my own life. In fact, if I am honest, I put the emphasis on perfection instead of repentance in the lives of those closest to me, as well. But I think the negative statement in Psalm 7:12 indicates that my indignation, like God’s, should be saved for those who do not repent instead of those who fall short of perfection but whose lives are marked by the true humility of repentance. Because a life characterized by repentance is a life focused on conforming to the character of God. And isn’t that the work He is perfecting in each of us anyway? 


Wendy Paine Miller said...

Wow. I'm not sure how much you speak right to the heart of a situation I am in the midst of.

~ Wendy

Hannah said...

We can think of repentance as a new beginning. Repentance is really a gift. in order to receive Blessings.

i also invite you to join my blog recently started. Lets be friends & inspire many to grow in the Lord. Maybe i can help you & you can help me. If there is anything that i should not be placing on blog will you please tell me. As i really don't know.
Keep up the Good Work in Jesus.

Anne Mateer said...

Wendy, my prayer is always that what the Lord speaks to my heart will be for someone else as well. Praying for whatever situation you find yourself in now!

Anne Mateer said...

Isn't that the most wonderful thing about repentance, Hannah? It really is a new beginning. When we realize that God sees it as such, it allows us to move forward as well. I love that!

I'll definitely check out your blog. It is good when we connect as the body of Christ and help each other grow in Him.

Anonymous said...

I make the same mistakes. I think that's why I've always loved David. When he sinned, he did so on a grand scale, yet he praised God with wild abandon and Scripture calls him a man after God's own heart. I love this: "A life characterized by repentance is a life focused on conforming to the character of God." Amen!

Anne Mateer said...

Jana, you are always such an encouragement! Love your comments!

loweki said...

Wow, so profound what a wake up call. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the psalms.

Anne Mateer said...

You are welcome, Ioweki. I always hope that what I'm learning through scripture is meant for more than me. :)