When the man says, “I did wrong; I hate myself and my deed; I cannot endure to think that I did it!” then is atonement begun. Without that, all that the Lord did would be lost. He would have made no atonement. Repentance, restitution, confession, prayer, forgiveness, righteous dealing thereafter, is the sole possible, the only true make-up for sin. For nothing less than this did Christ die. When a man acknowledges the right he denied before; when he says to the wrong, “I abjure, I loathe you; I see now what you are; I could not see it before because I would not; God forgive me; make me clean, or let me die!” then justice, that is God, has conquered—and not till then. The work of Jesus Christ on earth was the creative atonement, because it works atonement in every heart. He brings and is bringing God and man, and man and man, into perfect unity: “I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.”
Some may think this a dangerous doctrine—and indeed, it is more dangerous than they think to many things—to every evil, to every lie, to every false trust in what Christ did, instead of in Christ himself. Paul glories in the cross of Christ, but he does not trust in the cross; he trusts in the living Christ and his living father.
by James House
"When a man acknowledges the right he denied before; when he says to the wrong, 'I abjure, I loathe you; I see now what you are; I could not see it before because I would not; God forgive me; make me clean, or let me die!' then justice, that is God, has conquered..."
That acknowledgement is perhaps one of the hardest things for many followers of Christ to actually do. I will guess that most of us find it not hard to recognize and even admit many of their actions, habits, and thoughts are wrong. But acknowledging just how damaging they are to others and ourselves - recognizing it to the degree that we can truly abjure the sin, and take resolve to rid ourselves of it, is often a step beyond our desires.
"Self is prolific in argument."
Paul Faber, Surgeon
Only increased love of our neighbors and God can create in us a greater love for Justice - a love that will be stronger than our desire to excuse ourselves in our errors.
"Men cannot be righteous without love; to love a righteous man is the best, the only way to learn righteousness: the Lord gives us himself to love, and promises his closest friendship to them that overcome."
The Hope of the Gospel
Through obedience, may we love Christ more, and thereby love God and his Justice more. May we love Justice enough to desire to change for the benefit of our fellows.