Reach repentance. Those are the two words, in the ESV, that I’m chewing on this morning. Literally, the idea is to “make room” for a “change of mind.” To clear some space that was occupied with one type of thinking in order to receive or hold something that’s maybe a different way of thinking–like a 180 degree different way of thinking.
And that, according to Peter, is why our Lord is so patient.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
(2Peter 3:8-9 ESV)
Until this morning, I’ve always thought of the Lord’s “a thousand years as one day” approach as a benefit to the unsaved. Those yet to bow the knee. That the Lord’s patiently waiting for them to come to repentance.
But this morning I’m thinking to myself, “Self, what if you too are a benefactor of the Lord’s patience? That the longer He tarries, the longer you live, you too have the opportunity for making room for a change of mind?”
After all, isn’t that how the transformation game works? Through the renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2)?
While my soul is redeemed, how much of my thinking is yet to be redeemed? While we have the mind of Christ (1Cor. 2:16), how many areas of my life are still to be brought into complete subjection to the mind of Christ? How much space still needs to be cleared in order to make room for His ways to occupy that space.
Isn’t repentance an on-going dynamic? As we continue to learn how to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh” (Rom 13:14); as we gain experience with the daily battle between the Spirit and the flesh (Gal 5:17), and become more proficient at living by the Spirit and keeping in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25); as we figure out what it means to live as new creations in Christ (2Cor. 5:17); how much of that is dependent on a change of mind–the reversal of thoughts, actions, motivations, and priorities? Maybe more than I care to admit.
How much of my on-going sanctification is wrapped up in reaching repentance? At least some of it, I’m thinking.
And the Lord is patient towards us. Those who are slow to make room. Those who, for some reason, want to maintain the junk and clutter of a former life. Patient, so that we should reach repentance.
Yes, the Lord is patient. But not that we might presume on His patience.
Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
(Romans 2:4 ESV)
Recognizing His patience, seeing His kindness, is meant to lead us to repentance. His grace is not an excuse to maintain the status quo in our thinking and actions. Instead, it should be a catalyst for making room for the mind of Christ and the practical out-working of the righteousness of Christ already credited to our account.
The Lord is patient toward me. That I should, through His kindness, reach repentance.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!
Because of His amazing grace. For His everlasting glory.