Repentance (3 of 3): Walking in Obedience
Open Your Bible
John 14:15-21, Deuteronomy 5:33, James 4:7-10, 2 John 1:6
Text: John 14:15-21, Deuteronomy 5:33, James 4:7-10, 2 John 1:6
Growing up in the religious South, I’ve too often thought of faith as one of those moving walkways in the airport. The point was not the walking or the journey along the way; the point was getting to the destination—heaven. Or, to put it bluntly, not hell.
Being a Christian meant picking the correct lane and facing the correct direction. No deviating to the left or right, no passing Go or collecting $200. No obvious need for a Savior or real understanding of grace. Just a beeline for the pearly gates, with a little tithing and a lot of church attendance thrown in for good measure.
Aren’t you thankful Jesus didn’t come to give us empty religion? He came to give us Himself. The invitation Christ extends is an invitation to a relationship with Him.
Repentance is not a box we check so that we end up on the right side of eternity; repentance is an everyday event, a manifestation of an ongoing relationship with God. We turn from our sin and turn to God, and we walk with Him. The turning is the first step, but the walking is a continuous motion. And, contrary to what we may fear, it is not something we do on our own.
The night before Jesus was crucified, He sat with His disciples around a table and said to them, “If you love Me, you will keep My commands” (John 14:15). Those twelve men could not have known the full weight of Jesus’ statement at the time, but in hindsight, we can see just how hard that would be. Like them, you and I know how difficult it is to walk steadily in the way of Christ. We know how often we fall, just like Adam and Eve and every generation after them fell, and just like the imperfect disciples sitting around that table. When we hear “if you love Me, you will keep my commands,” we may wonder if we do.
We aren’t perfect. That’s why the perfect Savior came. Jesus came to give the Father glory and to give us Himself. And what He gave, the world could not take away.
They took His life, but He gave us His Spirit. They buried Him in the ground, but He rose out of that grave and later into the heavens, where He lives so we might also live (John 14:16,19). Yes, Christ calls us to walk in obedience and love, but we do not walk alone. “I will not leave you as orphans,” Jesus said to the disciples that day. “I am coming to you” (John 14:18).
Our command-keeping is not about proving to Christ that we belong to Him. It is what happens when we are His. When we repent of our sin and turn to God, we receive the Holy Spirit as His never-leaving, always-living gift to us. “He is the Spirit of truth”—a Spirit the world cannot receive or understand, a Spirit that teaches and reminds us of the things of Christ (John 14:17,26). He is our Helper, our Counselor.
With hearts so prone to wander, we may be tempted to stand still in our fear or uncertainty. But repentance is not a passive position; it is an active and humble pursuit. It is turning from sin, turning to God, and walking in obedience—all by the grace and mercy of a good Father who loves His children.