“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Isa 59:1-2)
Sin is the greatest obstacle between man and God. Only God can reveal sin, since God is light. Light reveals sin that is shrouded in darkness (John 3:19-21). The greatest problem of mankind is self-righteousness—that we neither perceive nor confess the evil hidden in our hearts. Moses, deeply aware of this, prayed, “You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance” (Psa 90:8). David also professed, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psa 32:5).
Sin does not simply disappear because of human ignorance or denial. We need God’s help! “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults” (Psa 19:12). “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa 139:23-24). There is no creature that is hidden from His sight. All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Heb 4:13).
Repentance is very personal. It requires admitting to wrongs knowingly committed, while also deepening our introspection to discover hidden evils which are the root of the sin. Revealing our own sins is a not natural human inclination: Adam and Eve’s first reaction to their misdeeds testifies to this (Gen 3:12-13). Repentance, then, is even more difficult, as it not only requires someone to face his true self but also requires that he be willing to change.
The Word of God is therefore the key to repentance: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb 4:12). Self-examination must come through the daily cultivation of studying the Scriptures and praying. His Word will become a mirror to our inner beings, and shine light on our impurities. But do not leave our impurities there! “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (Jas 1:22-25).
“‘Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart’… Rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness…” (Joel 2:12-13)
God wishes that we turn to Him with all our hearts, for He is gracious and abundant in mercy. May we repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance (Acts 26:20). The Holy Spirit will empower us to walk worthy of the gospel of Christ (Phil 2:17). God chose us in Christ and appointed us to bear fruit, that our fruit should remain. Then, whatever we ask the Father in His name, He will give to us (John 15:16). Lord Jesus has shown us the path of life. Those who walk in His presence daily will live in fullness of joy (Psa 16:11)!