This week Alex is preaching from Acts 3:19-21 and rightly or wrongly I am focusing on the repentance part.
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.“
It does beg the question though: Why do those of us who believe sing songs of repentance? We have already repented. We have already been justified. It is finished. Yet we still sin. We do what we don’t want to do and we don’t do what we do want to do.
These daily sins have already been dealt with from a legal perspective. What remains is sanctification. We do the things we don’t want to do and because we have been made new, we are not satisfied with this.
So we sing songs of repentance to remember the broken and contrite heart in the moment that we were justified. We sing them to remember the joy our heart felt as the weight of sin was lifted. We sing them to inspire us in our fight to be what we already are.
What are we? Paul says “consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:11). John Piper reminds us “You are already holy in Christ (Col. 3:12); therefore ‘be holy in all your conduct’ (1 Pet. 1:15)”.
Here are the songs for the week:
1. Give Us Clean Hands
I’m excited about this one because it fits the theme of repentance and also because our youth will be singing it in their service on Friday night.
2. God Be Merciful to Me
(We are doing it in C this time. I think we did it in Bb last time)
This is all about repentance. I like two things about this song. First, the style we’ll play it is somewhat upbeat. An upbeat song of repentance? I also like the final verse: “Let my contrite heart rejoice and in gladness hear Thy voice.”
This is also a song of repentance and surrender. It also expresses that our desire to love and honor God comes from the very inside of our heart.
I chose this song because it reminds us that if we call to God, He will respond. Just as this passage encourages us to repent so that we might be refreshed. If we call to Him, He will answer us.
I have been recently reading “When I Don’t Desire God” by Piper. In it, Piper talks about Micah’s gutsy guilt. In Micah 7:8-9, we see that the prophet recognizes his own sin, but also trusts in the Lord’s grace. He trusts so much that in the midst of shame, he declares to his enemies that he will rise. That is a promise that we can trust in.
8 Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be a light to me.
9 I will bear the indignation of the Lord
because I have sinned against him,
until he pleads my cause
and executes judgment for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
I shall look upon his vindication.