Acts 19:18,19 – Also many of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone;
Repentance is not one of the top topics to preach from in the modern church. Many have taken a position that I was made the way I am and the Lord loves me and covers me by grace like I am in my sins. That is not an accurate Biblical view of grace. We are all born with a flawed, fallen nature. We have a tendency to sin because that is part of our human condition. The beauty of grace is that it not only covers us but changes us. This is where grace gets really interesting. He changes us in a very wonderful way, we begin to be attracted to different things. The power of sin is the promise of pleasure; what if our desires changed? What if we found different things pleasurable? What if worship, bible reading, and gathering with other Christians brought us more pleasure than booze, illicit sex, and an endless list of other vices. That is the miracle of amazing grace. We love different things now. Here is how John Piper describes it:
“In conversion we find the hidden Treasure of the kingdom of God. We venture all on it. And year after year in the struggles of life, we prove the value of the treasure again and again, and we discover depths of riches we had never known. And so the joy of faith grows. When Christ calls us to a new act of obedience that will cost us some temporal pleasure, we call to mind the surpassing value of following Him, and by faith in His proven worth, we forsake the worldly pleasure. The result? More joy! More faith! Deeper than before. And so we go on from joy to joy and faith to faith. Behind the repentance that turns away from sin, and behind the faith that embraces Christ, is the birth of a new taste, a new longing, a new passion for the pleasure of God’s presence. This is the root of conversion. This is the creation of a Christian Hedonist.”
I love that statement, “behind the faith that embraces Christ, is the birth of a new taste”. It is this “new taste” that changes our world. It wasn’t that the Ephesians Christian suddenly realized their practices were evil, they were pursuing a new life. Christ had become their love and being involved in His kingdom had replaced all of that other sinful involvement. Repentance is not a sacrifice, it is pursuing your newfound joy in the Lord.