Repentance is the act of turning away from sin and turning unto God. It involves being sorrowful for one’s sin with determination and decision to abstain from it. Repentance goes beyond ordinary abstinence from sin but is rooted in the desire of the sinner to forsake a love for his sin while calling on God to overlook the consequences of such wrongdoing.
The scripture tells us that “all unrighteousness is sin” (1John 5:17). In other words, every wrongdoing of man is ‘sin’: whether wrongdoing committed against our fellow human being or against God or even against our own self, they are all regarded as sin.
"Then Peter said unto them, 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. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. " Acts 2:38-39
Why Repentance? Is it so Important?
First, repentance remains
the necessary conditions for the forgiveness of sin (Act 3:19, 2Chronicles 7:14).
That is why God is demanding repentance from every sinner. God’s love and plan
for man are perfect and undiluted, but His hands are tied when we decided to forsake
Him to take the wrong path. However, God is still seeking for those who will repent
and return unto him. He does not take pleasure in the death of sinners but that
they repent (Ezekiel 33:11).
Second, repentance is a
necessary condition for our salvation (Luke 13:3 & 5). The Lord Jesus said
that except we repent, we shall likewise perish. It is important because there
is no way we can walk with God without forsaking our sins. God is too holy to
walk with us if we continue in to sin. He wants to walk with a man that is
ready to do away with sins and iniquity. He doesn’t like associating with
wrongdoing, except to correct it. The scripture says that we should repent and
be converted (Acts 3:19). Repentance comes first before conversion. It is when
we truly have Godly sorrow for sins that we can repent of them.
Third, repentance involves
humility (2Chronicles 7:14). God is demanding repentance from all of us because
He knows it takes only a humble fellow to say sorry for his wrongdoing and
taking step to correct it. God cannot walk with the pride. If a man is walking
with God for instance and he offends somebody, God will want you to make amend
immediately, but if such fellow is the type that is not ready to listen to what
God is saying, then how can God truly walk with him? No way, God resist the
proud but He gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).
Fourth, repentance precedes baptism – whether it is Holy Spirit baptism or water baptism. Acts 2:38 says:
“Then Peter said unto them, 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”
Water baptism is an important doctrine in walking with God. It represents an open testimony of our faith as well as our desire to associate with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. With a strict adherence to the scripture, both water baptism as well as Holy Ghost baptism comes after repentance and not before it.
Who Should Repent?
The question of who should repent is a serious matter of concern. So who should repent? The answer is simple: all of us. Somebody might say but I have been living a faultless life all the days of my life, yes to you that is true, but as far as God is concern we have all sinned (Acts 3:23). All of us have one wrongdoing or the other that we must repent of if we truly want to seek God. 1John 1:7-10 says:
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”
Repentance is the first step in our walk with God. If any man truly wants to serve the Lord, then he must look into his past ways of life and changed. If someone thinks his former ways of life is however too bad for God to forgive him, then I have good news for such, the Lord is a merciful God and he is ready to accept you today. All he is asking for is that you make up your mind not to return unto it again.
How to Repent – Six Steps to Follow
Feel Godly Sorrow
The first step towards repentance is to recognize that you have sinned
against God and his commandments. This realization should therefore make
you feel deep sorrow within you for what you have done against God and
the trouble you might have caused other people as a result of your
wrongdoings. David said
“For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin” (Psalm 38:18)
is important to note, however, that sorrow is a mere prelude to
repentance and not repentance itself. If a man feel deep sorrow within
himself without making up his mind to forsake that sin and turn to God,
that sorrow is useless (Hebrew 12:17).
Confess to God
The second step of repentance is confession. With the realization that you have sinned, you need to open up to God what you have done by telling him what you have done. You will also need to tell him that you deserve to be punished but he should have mercy. If necessary, you may also confess to your pastor or a minister of God. In that case a good minister of God will counsel you and also pray with you. The scripture says:
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverb 28:13).
Ask for Forgiveness
The third step in repentance is to ask for forgiveness. Because you
have sinned against God, you will need to pray for God to forgive you of
your sins. More importantly, you will also need to forgive others who
have wronged you. The scripture says “
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
Apart from that you also need to forgive yourself of all these wrongdoings. Many have committed suicide for their inability to forgive themselves of their sin and thereby spent their eternity in hell.
This involves rectifying the problems caused by your sins or wrongdoings as much as possible.
“And if it be stolen from him, he shall make restitution unto the owner thereof.” (Exodus 22:12)
If you have
caused an irreparable damage, then sincerely ask forgiveness of those
wronged and try to find another way to show that you are truly sorry.
Forsake Your Sin
A man who asks for forgiveness for a sin and return to commit the same again is unwise and has not truly repented. The important subject of repentance rests on ability to forsake. God is actually interested in anyone who is ready to forsake his sins. The scripture says
"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." (Proverbs 28:13)
To do this you need to promise God that you will not repeat such sin again. Also you need to make determination in your heart not go back into it again. You can also pray to God to help you forsake your sins.
Receive Forgiveness into Your Heart
You need to hold on to the word of God who has promised to forgive you if you truly repented.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2Chronicles 7:14)
Biblical Examples of Act of Repentance
There are many in the scriptures who repented of their sins and God gladly accepted back and showed mercy. David for example is a typical example (2Samuel 24:10-17, Psalm 51). He committed adultery with Uriah’s wife and latter kill him. The Lord rebuked him and immediately he realised that the God knew about all these hidden iniquity, he repented and God accepted him again. One lesson to learn here is that if we try to hide our sins to God, we are only lying to ourselves for God knows everything that we do both in secret and in the open.
Other examples of people who realized their mistakes and repented abounds in the scripture: Manasseh (2Chronicle 33:1-13), Joseph’s brethren (Genesis 50:17), Prodigal Son (Luke 15:18-20) and many others.
The consequences of unrepentant are many but the most important one is what the scripture says
about the wages of sin:
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6: 23)
Well, the bible says here that wages (i.e the reward) of sin is death. Yes but, whether we sin or not, is death not mandatory for everyone? Indeed, it is but the death refers to here is both physical and eternal. Physical death, which is first death, is for all but eternal death is for sinners. When a man died in his sins his hope of going to heaven is dashed forever.
Jesus himself said except a man repents, he will likewise perish (Luke 13:3 & 5)
Also, an unrepentant fellow will not be able to walk with God. If a man says he’s born again and he’s still living in sin, then he is probably deceiving himself. The God I know will want you to repent as he call you to serve him (Isaiah 1:16-20).
© 2012 Christian Devotions & Resource Centre