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What shall we do then? True Repentance

by Yesudasan Nedumoncave, Philadelphia

John the Baptist came from the wilderness and preached the gospel of repentance in the regions of the Jordan and baptized the multitude. He warned them who came in great number that mere symbolic washing would not wash away their sins, unless they bear the fruits of repentance. People in turn asked him:

"What shall we do then?’΄ (Luke 3: 10)

Two more groups of people repeated the same question to the Baptist.

"Then the Tax collectors also came to the Baptist and said to him, Teacher what shall we do?’΄ ((Luke 3:12).

"Like wise the soldiers asked him saying, . "And what shall we do?’΄ (Luke 3: 14)

During the period of apostles, two more groups asked the same question to St Peter and St. Paul.

"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the hearts, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, . "Men and brethren, what shall we do?’΄ (Acts. 2: 37)

"And he called for a light, ran in and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, Sirs what must I do to be saved?’΄ (Acts 16: 29, 30)

All these are the out cry of the disturbed minds, fearing souls, broken and contrite hearts with sense of guilt and sin that was heard two thousand years ago. But now this kind of cry is seldom heard.

Speeches and sermons are in abundance, exhortations are close to the ears, conventions are competitive, and pulpits are live with theology; yet the cry of the broken heart is not to be heard today. The concept of sin consciousness is overtaken by superfluous spirituality and confession has become a ritual formality.

When Jesus said, . "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first?’΄ (John 8: 7), one by one all dispersed. If the command is repeated today, all will take the stone to throw. Not because all are sinless and not associated with that women and her sin, but, all want to show their wives, to their children, to their parents and to their community that they are sinless, hiding their sins.

When Nathan pointed to David, "You are the man?’΄, David repented and said, "I have sinned against the Lord?’΄ (II Sam.12:7, 13) and created the heart tearing psalm 51 of repentance for all the generation to come; but the generation that recites it today is doing only a lips exercise, void of actual repentance.

When Cain stood before the Lord after killing his brother Abel, he said, . "My punishment is greater than I can bear’΄ (Gen.3: 12) and thus became the first repentant of the Bible characters, God set the mark of salvation on him and set him free of any vengeance. But today, having received the seal of salvation by Holy Baptism, many live in sin, without repentance and consciousness of sin. This grieves the Holy Spirit of the Lord.

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of resumption?’΄ (Eph. 4: 30)

Therefore, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, let us submit ourselves to God for the Holy Spirit to strengthen us to ask in spirit, "What shall we do?’΄, in the imminent lent.

See Also:

Repentance, A Golden Key
Kingdom of Heaven/God is the sphere where God reigns, repentance is the acknowledgment of God's rule.

Gospel is about The Kingdom of God
'The Kingdom of God' This is the primary and predominant theme in the Gospel. It was to make a fallen creation aware of this, that the Lord became incarnate.

Are we clean?
To have "part with" our Lord and Savior, we must take part in continual progressive sanctification.

Forgiveness
Story of Joseph in the Bible is an epitome of a forgiving mind, a proof that even if man decides to hurt one's feelings or rob one's best part of life, nothing shall ultimately prevail against what God has destined.

Meditation on Healing and Forgiveness
Healing and forgiveness are about being whole because they are about confronting evil and sin in ourselves and the world. God's word to us confronts us with our weakness, sins, and ailments and offers us healing and wholeness.

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