Many of you may not know that I am a private pilot. There are few things more thrilling than breaking the bounds of gravity and soaring into the blue sky!
I don’t get to fly often, but I think about it a lot.
Recently I have run across quite a few brothers in Christ who are emphasizing repentance as a part of salvation.
Now, repentance is absolutely an inseparable part of being born again, but the way it often gets used is: "Being sorry for your sins and not doing them anymore."
While this is true in part, if it is emphasized, it can obfuscate the biblical understanding of repentance. As I pondered this, I was reminded of a yoke that I once saw on an old airplane I flew in.
In most modern small airplanes there is a yoke (steering wheel) on both sides of the cockpit. The way that repentance is often viewed is that you're sorry for the direction you've been flying so you're going to change headings and ask God to grab the other controls and help you stay on course. He becomes a co-pilot of sorts.
Biblical repentance has a lot more in common with the older setup.
You see, in some of the old, single-engine airplanes, you had a single yoke that had a release in the center. If you decided to let the other pilot fly you simply pulled the pin, shifted the yoke to his side, and relinquished control.
In that case your repentance is not being sorry for the way you've been flying, but handing the controls over to someone else.
In this scenario, of course you're not going to keep the same heading; you have a brand-new pilot with a brand-new charted path! The emphasis is not just on your past mistakes but on your ineptitude to chart your own course. So instead, you turn the controls over to Jesus. You repent not only of your sin but also of your righteousness: your ability to not sin, your ability to chart your own course, and you repent toward your new pilot, Jesus Christ.
On the surface it seems semantic, but look at the picture and think about it!