Repentance is a subject that is often taken lightly by our generation due to the grace message being preached now days, therefore we tend to not repent from our sins when we should. It is important to consider how the gospel affects and transforms the act of repentance. In ‘religion’ the purpose of repentance is basically to keep God happy so he will continue to bless you and answer your prayers. This means that ‘religious repentance’ is a selfish, self-righteous and bitter all the way to the bottom. But in the gospel the purpose of repentance is to repeatedly tap into the joy of our union with Christ in order to weaken our need to do anything contrary to God’s heart.
The dictionary definition says repentance means “to feel sorry, remorseful, or contrite for a past action, attitude, sin or wrongdoing; to remember or regard with self-reproach or contrition.
In the Bible times, repentance was often accompanied by fasting, weeping, and sitting in sackcloth and ashes. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for repentance was to be penitent but also to be “comforted, eased,” and also to “turn back.”
In the New Testament, the word for repentance, “metanoia,” meant to “have a change of mind.” I believe this goes along with the Old Testament definition of turning back. In other words, having a change of mind, turning away from sin and rebellion, and turning back to God.
Everyone knows they are not perfect, but for most sinners that is consolation, not condemnation. But the Bible declares all sinners are already condemned:
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:17-18).
The problem is “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom.3:23). Man, in his lost, sinful, condemned state, has failed to glorify God. Until a person becomes personally exceedingly sinful in his own eyes, he will never see his need for repentance. Eph.2:1 says man is spiritually dead; Rom.3:10 and Isa.64:6 tells us no one is righteous before a holy God; Rom.3:19 says all stand guilty and condemned before God; Eph.4:18 declares all sinners are separated from God whose hearts and minds are blinded so that they cannot understand God or the things of God.
Repentance basically involves two facts: the fact of sin and the fact of God’s grace. If a person is not a sinner, he would not need to repent, and if God was not the God of all grace, it would do no good to repent. Repentance implies sin, sorrow for it, and a changed attitude towards God about it.
It should also be stressed that repentance itself is not a human act, but comes only from God (Rom.2:4) — it is a divine gift of God (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25).
Repentance is not a one-time deal. From the time you turn your life over to God through belief, repentance is a lifestyle. As God makes you aware of ways that your heart has been led away from him to other affections (called idols), or you have disobeyed Him, He wants you to repent-over and over if necessary.
“When they sin against you–for there is no one who does not sin–and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to his own land, far away or near; and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.” I Kings 8:46-49
Therefore as Christian we should always repent from our sins, we should like David pray: Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. And when we see our faults and wrong ways, we must confess it in words, truly repent and turn from it, walk out our repentance in our doing. We must walk worthy of Him who made repentance possible to us sinners who were separated from God and now have peace with God though Jesus Christ.
How can you determine true repentance?
The answer to that is found inActs 26:20 “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”
Prayer: Lord open the eyes of your church, let the light of the knowledge of Christ shine upon our heart, to understand your ways, so that we may turn from our wicked ways and walk worthy of you in this life. I surely know that your grace is sufficient but i ask that we would not take your grace lightly as we face our faults and failures. Come and wash us with the waters our your word, let your word run swiftly in our hearts and bring us closer to you though true repentance, in Jesus name.