Repentance by Tim Morey
From the first book of Genesis until the final book of Revelation, God has always desired to have strong friendship and companionship with humanity. In the Garden of Eden God, had fellowship with man, but sin severed that link and created a gap between God and man.
Having paid the price for our sins Christ created a path to victory (Romans 5). What we could not do for ourselves Christ accomplished at the cross of Calvary. Truly, the cross became the foundation for the second covenant, Pentecost (Hebrews 8-10). It was no longer God living among His people, but now God living in His people! On the Day of Pentecost, when a Jerusalem crowd asked the disciples what they needed to do to be saved, the Apostle Peter instructed, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). As a disciple of Jesus, Peter confidently preached the message of salvation and truth that Jesus shared so frequently during His earthly ministry (Luke 24:46-49, Acts 2:37-39).
Repentance is necessary for the New Birth experience: without it, a person cannot and will not submit himself or herself to the Spirit of God. If they are unwilling to turn from their sins and confess them to God, they will refuse the Spirit prompting them to scriptural obedience. The wicked tongue that sincerely confesses sin is then loosed to speak in other tongues as the Spirit fills the person and gives them utterance (Acts 2:1-4, James 3).
Repentance is an important principle and absolutely critical to a person’s pursuit of salvation (Acts 17:30). Jesus preached repentance throughout his ministry and repeatedly spoke of its importance in a person’s life (Matthew 9:13, Mark 2:16-17, Luke 5:30-32). He said that without repentance, a person will perish (Luke 13:3). He spoke of how heaven rejoices when a sinner repents (Luke 15:7). The book of Romans tells us that only because of the goodness of God do we even have an opportunity to repent (Acts 11:16-18, Romans 2:3-4). When we repent and confess our sins to God, we have the promise that He will forgive us and cleanse our unrighteousness and that we can escape from the snare and captivity of the devil’s snare (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
Though several observations could be made about people in the prayerful stage of repentance, the scriptures warns that the outward sign of sorrowful tears are not always an accurate indicator that a person has found a place of repentance (Hebrews 12:15-17). Man is limited to what he can see on the outside, but God can look into the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). John the Baptist pointed out that people must bring forth fruits worthy of repentance (Luke 3:8).
So what is repentance one may ask? Quite simply, it is a total transformation and change of heart, mind and action. It is a changed heart that is sincerely remorseful for your sins: words, actions, thoughts, attitudes or anything that violates the word of God (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). It is a changed mind with a willingness to change every aspect of your life and a desire for a new, and Godly, outlook on life. It is changed actions, the actual physical change in how you conduct your life.
Changed actions should naturally follow a sincere change of heart and mind (Acts 3:19). King David spoke of repentance as confessing your sins unto the Lord (Psalms 32:5,38:17-18, Psalm 51:10-11). There is no person to whom you should confess, rather confess to God alone. Not to a priest or pastor, not to a father or mother, not to a neighbor or friend. Jesus alone can forgive sin and to Him alone we confess our sins (I John 1:7-9). No matter the sin, we can confidently approach God and receive mercy and forgiveness (Lamentations 3:22-23, Hebrews 4:15-16). The second portion of Proverbs 28:13 really sums repentance up well: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Repentance is about confessing sin, or verbal proclamation, and forsaking sin, (that’s where heart, mind and action come into play). It is a complete turnaround.
We know that the very opportunity to repent is a gift from God. We know that God is willing and able to forgive us of our sins. We know that because God willfully gave His life for our sins so that we could be forgiven and redeemed, we should be willing to place our lives in God’s hands through repentance. Perhaps during the repentance stage some people feel that their sins are so bad that God would be unable or unwilling to forgive them. Quite the contrary, when Christ went to Calvary He paid the price for all sins!
His forgiveness + our repentance = His redemption for our lives!
Tim Morey attends First Church of Athens, Alabama where he serves as Assistant to
the Pastor. Tim is originally from Appleton, Wisconsin and is a graduate of Jackson
College of Ministries.