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How Should I Mourn Sin?

Biblical Authority Devotional: The Beatitudes, Part 7

by Steve Ham on July 7, 2011
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Steve Ham, AiG–U.S., explains how a person can find true comfort by repenting of their sin.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

Today’s big question: how should I mourn sin?

This question has been debated through the ages. Some people may ask it in a different way, such as “What is true repentance?” In yesterday’s devotional we considered that repentance is not the same as penance. The penalty for sin is ultimately eternal death in hell, and there is no way for us to work that off. No amount of moral living, physical labor, trial, or even torture is going to reduce an eternal sentence. The Bible makes it very clear that we are saved by grace alone, through faith, and not of works or our own righteousness.

True mourning over sin is also more than simply being sorry. In 2 Corinthians 7:9 Paul expressed his thankfulness that the Corinthian believers’ sorrow led to their repentance. We may regret and genuinely feel sorrow for our sin, even as Judas did in when he tried to give back the 30 pieces of silver, but this is not true repentance that leads to us abiding in Christ.

True repentance is seen time and again as we study Scripture. King David was sorry for his sin and truly repented as he sought cleansing, forgiveness, and purity in God. The Apostle Peter was likewise sorrowful for denying Jesus three times, and yet this sorrow led to Peter’s faithful witness of the gospel. The Apostle Paul lived out repentance in his life as revealed in Romans 7, where he expressed his struggle against the sin in his life.

True repentance and mourning over sin places Jesus at the center of our focus. It is only because of Christ’s completed work on the Cross that we can repent. It is only because of God’s work in our lives that our sorrow over sin can become a life-giving mourning that brings lasting comfort and forgiveness. God’s amazing forgiveness causes us to live as His servants out of pure gratitude to the Savior.

Where are you in this second beatitude? Do you recognize sin in your life? Are you convinced of your need of salvation? Or are you already a mourning sinner, comforted only in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the Cross and living daily for your Savior? Wherever you are, know that the promise about every tear being wiped away only applies to those who have mourned over their sin (repented) and trusted in Christ. For believers in Christ, there is eternal comfort that starts upon conversion and lasts forever.

Today’s big idea: true repentance is only possible because of the Cross of Christ.

What to pray: ask God to give you a greater vision of His work on the Cross so that you might turn from your sin and follow Him in every area of your life.

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