I always thought we had to look at allllllll our sins and repent for each and everyone of them BEFORE God could change our hearts and put His Spirit within us and give us the strength to obey Him. Like we gotta clear our house before allowing Jesus in. I read Ezekiel today and v31 really blew my mind.
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!”
Here Ezekiel is splitting up the relationship between God’s action and our action very clearly. v25-30, He will cleanse, He will change our hearts, He will help us walk in obedience, He will give us the inheritance and prosperity, He will make us successful in what we do, He will make us forget our shame. THEN and only then, will WE, v31, will realise our sins and hate our past sinful self.
It actually does kinda make sense.
Firstly, we are sinful and sin filled creatures. We only want the best for ourselves and to satisfy ourselves. We will never willingly repent until the Holy Spirit does some kind of work on our hearts and some kind of rewiring in our minds. The first step of repentance and humility requires a soft heart. v26 says God will put a spirit in us which would soften the heart of stone into the heart of flesh. God was labouring in us even before we said yes to Him.
Secondly, we can’t possibly know ALL God’s laws and repent of all the sins. I don’t think we could even know our heart attitudes or problems that well until after we’re dead. If we had to be super holy before Jesus could come into our hearts, no one would ever be Christian. God’s work in perfecting our lives is a step by step process. We realise and overcome one sin, then another. We learn one Godly attitude, then another. And this whole process can only be done with God’s strength and grace.
We need Him for us to be rid of sin. We even Him even for us to just repent for the first time.