How many times in your life has the phrase “I will start tomorrow” crossed your mind? How many times in either your spiritual or personal life have you had a burden to do something or stop doing something, yet put it off time and time again? If you are anything like me that number will be innumerable.
In 2 Corinthians Paul is adamant that NOW is the time of God’s favor, NOW is the day of salvation. Likewise when you first accept Christ and realize your own guiltiness, there is no putting it off until tomorrow. There is God’s grace and your need, and this need cannot go unmet any longer.
Yet as time goes on I seem to ever more slowly fade into spiritual and personal laziness, adopting the “I will do it, or there is always tomorrow” attitude. Whether it is something that needs to be done (reading daily, praying daily, attending meetings, finding a job, losing weight) or something that has to stop (particular sins, laziness) there seems to be an ever growing list of things that will start or happen tomorrow.
Your sin will still be there tomorrow
Probably at the top of your mind, and I know at the top of mine, are current sins we are struggling with. Whether it is pride, selfishness, lusts of the flesh, you name it – every Christian has sin(s) in their life they are struggling to eradicate to be more conformed to the image of Christ. In this struggle there are days where we rely on God’s Word and promises and are victorious. Then there are those days that we fail and fall back into whatever that sin may be. On those days it is always easy to say tomorrow will be a better day.
Yet when we examine Paul’s claim in 2 Corinthians we see that NOW IS THE TIME. God’s answer to this dilemma can be found in 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” While this verse can be used in application for the gospel, its context was written to believers. In fact, in the same chapter vs 10 will tell us that we all sin, regardless of salvation.
Cleansed but not perfect
We are cleansed from the punishment of sin upon salvation, yet there is still this “unrighteousness” we need to be cleansed from. Barnes put it this way “By forgiving all that is past, treating us as if we were righteous, and ultimately by removing all the stains of guilt from the soul.”
What a glorious God we have who would not only save our souls from the Lake of Fire, but provide us continued and everlasting support and grace even when we trample His Son underfoot time and time again. Let us stop sinning today. If you mess up, confess and move on. Don’t wait for tomorrow because tomorrow will have its own challenges and trials.
Promises to God
God takes promises we make to Him very seriously. If you examine the Scripture you will find passages such as Ecclesiastes 5:4, Numbers 30:2, James 5:12 and Matthew 5:37. While some of these Scriptures are written to Israel and had to do with Levitical offerings, I still think the concept can remain for us in the current age of grace. How many times have you or I entered into prayer at the end of the day and went through the sins of the day, promising God that it would be different tomorrow?
That we will not do X and will do Y. Yet when tomorrow rolls around, X stills happens and Y does not. Don’t get me wrong, God has eternal forgiveness and grace to deal with those sins, but the fact still remains that we broke a promise to God.
What is the problem? Why is there no change?
As already mentioned, this is more of an encouragement for myself rather than an exhortation for others. I always question why there isn’t change. There is a burden for change, a want for change, and even prayer for change. Yet change never happens. What am I doing wrong? Why do I see no results and progress? These are questions I face daily, and have been thinking and praying a lot about them recently.
The more I ask myself these questions, the more I realize that I need a better understanding of 1 John 1:9 and what true biblical repentance is. When we are first saved, we repent from sin itself. We agree with God about our sin and turn from our sin to God. We realize that in our sin we are on the path that leads to destruction, and that Christ is the only way unto eternal life. I would agree that that act of repentance for salvation is a one time occurrence, but the fact remains that a believer needs to understand repentance in our daily walk with Christ.
Biblical day-to-day repentance is an important concept for any Christian to understand. If we truly believe the Word of God, we realize that while we are saved from the punishment of sin and from the captivity of sin, we still have sin in our life. As we become more conformed to the image of Christ, God will reveal sin in our life that needs to be dealt with, that needs to be repented of.
For myself, I have been thinking what daily repentance truly is, and God has revealed a couple of things to me:
- We first need to realize that we as Christians do not have the right to sin. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
- We then need to realize there is forgiveness and grace available for our daily sins. (1 John 1:9)
- Furthermore we actually have to believe that God will cleanse us from this sin. (Mark 11:24)
- Finally, this is the one that hit things home for me. We actually have to want a closer relationship with God. As someone told me, “We have to want the joy of true repentance and a closer relationship with God over the fleeting pleasure of sin.”
So Christian, if you are struggling with a case of “Tomorrow I will,” let me encourage you that “Today there is.” Today there is forgiveness, today there is a renewed relationship, and today there is a better life in Christ. Look at your sin, repent of it, and look forward to God. I pray this will be true in my life and in the Church itself. God can do amazing things through us. Are we in any way holding Him back?