Lesson Two: From Darkness To Light
In the last lesson we learned about counterfeit repentance. We saw that there are ways we can fool ourselves into thinking we have repented when we truly haven't. In this lesson we will see the beginning of what true repentance is and how it changes a person. As an example we will use the Apostle Paul. From his life we see that before a person can repent, they need to understand and accept that they are a sinner.
SEEING SIN FOR WHAT IT IS
Before we can come to Christ we need to realize that we are sinners. This is not something that we can do ourselves, or something someone else can do for us. It is up to the Holy Spirit to reveal it to us.
In our own eyes, we are pretty good people(at least better than other people we know). Some of us may even think we are worthy of God's love and rewards. This was the case of a young Pharisee named Saul. He was an up and comer, a golden boy, the pride of his religious denomination. At least until he met Jesus on a dusty Roman road.
Now let's remember why Paul(or Saul) was on that road in the first place. He was on his way to arrest Christians. That was his job. He hated those who followed Jesus and wanted to see them put to death. But do you know what? Paul thought he was good in God's eyes. As a matter of fact, he thought he was doing God a favor by persecuting the Christians. Paul was totally blind to the wrong he was doing. As it ends up, he was the one who was deserving of God's wrath, not the people he was seeking to arrest.
So at this point in his life, Paul was in need of sight. Not only physical sight, but spiritual sight. He needed to see things the way they really were. The way God saw them. This begins to happen when a man named Ananias visits Paul with a message from God.
Paul had his eyes opened by the power of God. We need the same thing to happen to us today. Because of sin we cannot see the type of people we really are. We think that bad things are good. We think good things are bad. We see righteous things as boring and evil things as exciting. We are blind to what is true and to what pleases God.
Look at these verses and see how the Holy Spirit can cure our blindness and help us to see the light.
The first step to true repentance is to see sin for what it truly is. This means even Christians have to be looking for what is sinful in their lives everyday. Notice how Paul didn't make any excuses or go back to his old way of life. He started a new life and did his best to serve God with all of his power. Ask God to open your eyes today. Ask Him to show you where you are still blind to sin and then to send the Holy Spirit so you can fight that sin. Then with Paul you will be able to say, "old things have passed away, behold-all things are new"(2 Corinthians 5:17)
©1998 Pomona Youth Chapel/Pastor Tim Shultz