The Gift of Repentance (Newsletter 4-9)

by Randy Keyes

Scripture convinces us that the Lord would do a quick and mighty work in this latter time. Opportunity comes. What we do with the open door of opportunity weighs heavily upon us.

One of the greatest gifts God has ever given humanity is the gift of repentance. Without this gift, we would have no hope. Repentance has the ability to span the wide rift between God and man and create a passageway for intimate, loving companionship. Often we hear people say, “How could God, if He is good, send so many people to hell?” The fact is we were all doomed to hell, except for God’s goodness in choosing to give us a chance to repent. Jesus forgives by choice.

Repentance is the second most critical step to take with God. The first is faith-believing that He is. You can go no further toward God without the genuine act of repentance. Repentance is not what many people think it is.

Repentance is not how long a person lingers at the altar. Usually that means a person is having a hard time giving up the past or renouncing a sinful lifestyle. Repentance can happen in a minute. In just a few seconds while sitting in the pew, a person can come to a decision and repent mentally. That is why many people receive the gift of the Holy Ghost before they reach the altar-they have already repented. Whether it is inherited sin (Psalm 51:5) or committed sin (Romans 3:23), the formula is still the same-repentance.

Repentance is not a one-time act. We repent when we come to God, but repentance should become a frame of mind, an attitude in which we constantly live. Repentance is not just for the sinner. All seven churches of Asia Minor were commanded to repent. (See Revelation 2 and 3.)

John the apostle wrote: “My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2:1). We must attempt not to sin. We must strive to live in a constant state of repentance.

Repentance always precedes a significant demonstration of the Spirit of God. People receive the gift of the Holy Ghost after they repent. I remember in Ethiopia, that before there was an outpouring of God’s Spirit, there was a call to repentance. Thousands of people fell on their faces in earnest, soul-searching repentance. After what seemed a long time, we stood and began to worship God; suddenly the power of God fell, and tens of thousands of people were filled with the Holy Ghost simultaneously.

Repentance always precedes great revival. After John the Baptist preached repentance throughout the land, Jesus came. We must remember while in our pursuit of apostolic revival, that one ingredient cannot be bypassed-true, honest, and unquestionable repentance.

Repentance is the only ingredient that can make God draw nigh.