A Christian Life-style Choice No Longer in Vogue.

The Christian in the United States does not do repentance anymore. The Church no longer expects it. Denominations no longer require it. The commission of the Church to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins to the world is lost in the shuffle to grab as many members as we can. Evil triumphs in the churches because we refuse to confront sin and demand repentance. Congregations are broken because Christians now think that someone who wrongs them is supposed to be forgiven no matter what.
Please do not mistake what I am saying here. Forgiving another person’s sin is important for the preservation of the Christian community. However, a person whose actions have broken the fellowship of the Church or the local congregation owes the body of Christ a change of heart, mind, and actions along with confession of sin before the healing of forgiveness can truly be accomplished.
Protestant churches do not practice “penance” often. A few ritual observances do not mean a life is changing. So why should a muttered act of contrition be all that is required? Church leaders, both clergy and lay, should be held accountable and if possible make restoration for faults committed against God in Christ. Yet, time and again, church lay members and clergy will say, “Should not we just forgive?” However, there is nothing just in the desire to avoid the hard work of accountability and repentance. Sin is not truly acknowledged nor is restoration truly made.
Repentance and forgiveness is the beautiful beginning and at times the restoration of Christian fellowship. These two life-style actions make the church more than a civic club or a non-profit business venture. Repentance and forgiveness allows us to live in the reign and kindom of God. When Christians are convicted of wrong from having committed evil actions, we learn that we cannot judge and condemn the world for sin we too commit. Through repenting and receiving forgiveness the body of Christ learns how to help the people of the world to become free of the trap of sin.
Christians and congregations should examine ourselves against the model of Jesus in Scripture and choose again the life-style choices of repentance and restoration for the glory of God.

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