June 26, 2014

Proverbs 28:13-14 He who conceals his sins does not prosper,
but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord,
but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.

From the earliest days of mankind this has been true, and God has continually warned us about it, but we still think we can hide things from God, and are stubborn in our rebellion. Verse 13 is a very clear expression of what repentance means. Where the NIV says “renounces,” the Japanese simply says “discards.” in any case, it is not continuing in sin. We tend to want to bemoan our sins and then go right back to them; that is not repentance. However well you hide things from people, you still can’t hide things from God, and we fail to fear Him to our peril. We make a joke of “God will get you for that,” but it’s no joke. He is the righteous Judge, and there is only one way to “destroy evidence” in His courtroom: put it under the blood of Jesus. To do that, we have to confess it, just as it says here, and we have such reluctance to do that. As they say in “12 Step Programs” and the like, the first step to liberty is admitting you have a problem. However, many are like Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady: they like their sin too much to leave it. As this passage says, that is a recipe for ultimate disaster.

Just yesterday I was talking with a man about this. He was not very familiar with Christianity, and I was explaining the basics of the Gospel to him. When I said that we have to acknowledge that we are sinners, unclean, he was visibly taken aback. I must not hesitate to proclaim the Gospel even if it is not “politically correct.” There is a huge battle in the US over that right now. Here in Japan the battle isn’t as open, but it is still considered far less than polite to insist that people are sinners in need of repentance. I should not think that I can convict people of their sin myself; that is the job of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:8) However, I should expect the Holy Spirit to use me in the process, and keep myself available to Him. Yesterday I was not intending to step on that man’s toes, but it evidently happened, and I have no regrets about it. Now I am to pray that the Holy Spirit will bring that encounter back to him again and again, causing him to seek out a church to find the solution.

Father, thank You for the two opportunities You gave me to witness yesterday, and for that one in particular. Thank You that it was at a store Cathy will want to visit again, so that I will have another crack at him, even though it’s in another city. I do pray that You would work into Him what You said through me and bring him to genuine repentance and faith, for his salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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