How does God motivate people to change? – The answer is not what you might think. 

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Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness,
forbearance and patience, not realizing that
God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
Romans 2:4 (NIV)

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 33
Q. What is the true repentance or conversion of man?
A. It is the dying of the old nature and the coming to life of the new. 1
1.Rom 6:1-11; 1 Cor 5:7; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:5-10.

Q. What is the dying of the old nature?
A. It is to grieve with heartfelt sorrow that we have offended God by our sin, and more and more to hate it and flee from it. 1
1.Ps 51:3, 4, 17; Joel 2:12, 13; Rom 8:12, 13; 2 Cor 7:10.

Q. What is the coming to life of the new nature?
A. It is a heartfelt joy in God through Christ, 1 and a love and delight to live according to the will of God in all good works. 2
1Ps 51:8, 12; Is 57:15; Rom 5:1; 14:17. 2Rom 6:10, 11; Gal 2:20.

Q. But what are good works?
A. Only those which are done out of true faith, 1 in accordance with the law of God, 2 and to his glory, 3 and not those based on our own opinion
or on precepts of men. 4
1.Jn 15:5; Rom 14:23; Heb 11:6. 2.Lev 18:4; 1 Sam 15:22; Eph 2:10. 3.1 Cor 10:31.
4.Deut 12:32; Is 29:13; Ezek 20:18, 19; Mt 15:7-9.

Law of God in the Words of Jesus
Leader: What is the great and first commandment?
People: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Leader: What is the second commandment like it?
People: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Leader: What does this mean?
People: Love is the fulfilling of the law.
Leader: To what does this call us?
People: To a life of faith working through love.

Preparatory Exhortation for the Lord’s Supper (1981)
Minister: (So brothers and sisters, I want to ask you to) first think about our faith. We all confess the truth of God as taught by Scripture and summarized in the creeds of the church. By this faith we take to ourselves Christ and all his benefits, so that for us to live is Christ.

All: Lord God, author and finisher of all true believing, confirm our faith as we prepare for the holy sacrament.

Minister: Let us, further, think about our hope. All Christian hope rests upon the finished work of Christ as Savior. God’s children rely wholly upon the merits of Christ, find in him their strength and victory, and confidently expect his return in glory.

All: Most merciful Father, fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may abound in hope.

Minister: Let us also examine our love, both for God and our neighbors. Remember the great and first commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Do we unselfishly live for the welfare of others? Do our lives reflect the godly virtues of obedience, fidelity, integrity, justice, humility, and contentment? Do we seek reconciliation with our neighbors in all cases of offense?

All: Dear Father, daily increase in us the greatest gift of all, our Christian love.

Minister: If these marks of spiritual life are not evident in us, we may not presume to approach his table. Those, therefore, who live in self-righteousness, who hope in works or virtues of their own, and who do not show love to God and neighbor, have no true place at the Lord’s supper.Yet we should not be deterred by any sin lingering within against our will. As we find faith, hope, and love within us, we ought gladly to obey our Lord’s command and come with full expectation to God’s open house of mercy.

All: Gracious God, we love and adore you in Christ our Lord. We thank you for reconciling us to yourself in him. We rejoice in being received as your children. Prepare us by your Holy Spirit for the sacrament. Help us to come in the assurance that by it we shall be spiritually revived, and strengthened in faith, hope, and love, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Also this week, read over Psalm 51 for another example of a prayer of confession.