Summer Reading and Real Surrender
“My brother, have you confessed your sins today? Have you seen the cross of Christ today?”
These words are from Kefa Sempangi, a believer in Uganda. He is quoted in C. John Miller’s small-but-powerful book Repentance: A Daring Call to Real Surrender. It is a reminder of the refreshment that comes when we get to unburden ourselves before the Lord. It is a reminder of the joy and richness that is mine when grace meets me in my specific and troubling sin.
In college, my life was changed when someone took the time to begin to teach me how to confess my sins specifically, and regularly ask for God’s help to walk in the Spirit. Before that, repentance was just a heavy religious word; a nebulous concept of weight and guilt. But after that, repentance came alive to me as a divine gift, an invitation to receive and experience God’s love in fresh and real ways.
I have been trying to practice and grow in the gift of repentance ever since!
Coming in at less than 100 pages, Repentance is the kind of book that can be read and re-read many times. It has been a continual reminder for me of the life-renewing power of this practice. When I bring my sin to the Cross, and agree with what God says, then I receive His mercy afresh each day.
Miller has helped to encourage me in this. In fact, his biblical emphases - poured through the experiences of his own life and pain - have been a treasure store of God’s truth. Miller helps us think through repentance vs. penance, the right role of conviction, and how we apply the finished work of Christ. He walks us through biblical guilt and confession, to bring us out into freeing forgiveness and the Spirit’s power.
“In the great invitational passages of Scripture, the exhortation is not to thirst, i.e., to acquire a conviction of sin. Instead, the command is for sinners to drink of Christ (Jn. 7:37, Is. 55:1-2). Scripture does not say that the way of salvation is to make yourself heavy with your sins. Instead, the invitation from the Lord is, ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden’ (Mt. 11:38).”
If you are ready to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Ptr. 3:18), and in the timeless practice of preaching the Cross to yourself regularly, than this book will be rich for you.
And if you pick up a copy, and start reading, I would love to hear about it. You can expect that I will be reading it, too!
For His glory in us,