Lead me in your truth and teach me for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25 verse 5

Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will He instruct in the way that he should choose.

Psalm 25 verse 12

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Psalm 32 verse 8

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Psalm 51 verse 6

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

Psalm 86 verse 11

Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law.

Psalm 94 verse 12

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good spirit lead me on level ground.

Psalm 143 verse 10

All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children's peace.            

Isaiah chapter 54 verse 13

Jesus said: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew chapter 11 verse 29

Jesus said: It is written in the prophets, "And they shall all be taught by God". Therefore, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.

John chapter 6 verse 45

An online digest of the truth about God as we find it in the Bible

1. Why do we Need to Repent?

"Sin" is a word that is no longer found in day-to-day speech, so we need first of all to have a working definition. Chambers English Dictionary calls it, "moral offence or shortcoming; condition of so offending; an offence generally". Offence is possible only when there is someone to offend. We may offend against our fellow man, or we may offend against God. Offence causes breakdown in relationships, and the Kingdom of God is all about relationships. Jesus tells us that:

"... this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent."John 17:3

To know God is to be in relationship with Him. To have offended God is to be out of relationship with Him (Isaiah 59:2). To be out of relationship with God is to be outside of His Kingdom. To be outside of His Kingdom is to be in what the apostle Paul calls "the dominion of darkness" (Colossians 1:13), which is under the control of Satan, the enemy of our souls.

For most people, the idea of having offended God is ridiculous nonsense, especially for those who have been brought up to be honest, decent, law-abiding citizens who mind their own business and do what they can to help those less well off than themselves. In fact, for most people the suggestion that they are sinners is in itself an offence, and probably evokes a fairly hostile response. It is for this reason that we need to understand what is meant, so let me explain.

We sin against people in different ways, dependent upon the relationship that we have with them. If we take as an example the relationship between a parent and child, we can see that it is the responsibility of the parent to care for the child, and it is the responsibility of the child to submit to and be obedient to the parent. By nature, we recognise that if the child is in control, everything is topsy-turvey; and if the parent is negligent or, worse, abusive, the child will suffer damage. A parent who fails in their parental responsibility sins against their child; and the child who fails in their responsibility of obedience sins against the parent. He may be an otherwise outstanding example of virtue, but the relationship at home is tense and strained because he is in rebellion against the proper authority of the parent. Most parents of teenage children understand what I am talking about.

Now, what if there is an authority figure to whom we must all render submission and obedience? What if there is a King of kings and a Lord of lords and a President of presidents and a Father of fathers who, by his very nature, deserves to be honoured and obeyed by all human beings? If I am not submissive and obedient to Him, am I not in rebellion against Him, and therefore sinning against Him? If I sinned against my earthly father by failing to recognise his authority and by going my own way, how much more guilty am I for failing to recognise the authority of my heavenly Father? Can you see that you may be in every respect a virtuous and morally upright person in your own eyes and in the eyes of other people, but still be a sinner in the eyes of God because of your failure to acknowledge His right to have your obedience?

Someone asked Jesus, "What is the grestest commandment in the Law?", to which Jesus replied:

"'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself'. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:36-40

If the first and greatest commandment is to love God with everything that is within you, and you fail to do so, are you not living in disobedience to the revealed will of God? Similarly, if you fail to love your neighbour as yourself and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Matthew 7:12), are you not in breach of God's express instruction? When we think about these things, our hearts cry out, "this is impossible; it cannot be done!" To which, of course, your loving Father answers you, "I know that it's impossible for you - by yourself. So why don't you let me help you?" This is where grace comes in.

Grace is a divine impartation of whatever-it-takes to enable you to do whatever-it-is that God wants you to do. Most basically, to live a Godly, Christ-centred life. For instance, Paul says to the Philippians, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to do according to His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12b-13); and to the Ephesians he speaks of, "Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20). This is grace - God working in you.

How do I avail myself of this grace? How do I acquire it? How do I get hold of it?

The first step, as you will have guessed, is repentance.

Go back to "Repentance - Introduction" Go on to "2. What it Means to Repent?"