The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.John 4:15-18
The moment we realize that we cannot hide anything from God, true repentance can begin. God not only sees all that we do, He knows all our thoughts and intentions. We may be able to justify our behavior to ourselves, but we cannot stand innocent before a holy God.
Up to this point in their discussion, the woman had held onto tradition and old arguments so that she would not have to admit error and actually listen to Jesus.
It is the same with us. As long as we hide behind our self-declared justification because of religious practice, we will never get a clear view of the Savior. In order to have a clear view of the Savior, we must have a clear view of our own sin!
Sorrow for sin is an evidence of the new birth. From the moment the Spirit of God writes His law in our hearts, our conscience begins to accuse or excuse us. This is the Spirit of God working in us.
The world would tell us that guilt is not necessary and we should live for the moment. However, the Bible teaches us that sorrow for sin brings us to see our sin as God sees it. We can see that God hates sin but that Jesus also died for it and has put it away! Without the guilt, we would never really come to understand our Savior.
The world seeks to live for the moment. God intends for us to live our eternal life every moment we have here on earth and forever. To truly live that way, we must know our Savior more intimately. In order to experience that eternal joy right now, we must confess and repent of our sins.