In this article we look at repentance in the plan of salvation. We will define repentance, see that we must repent to be saved, what motivates us to repent, the joy of repentance, repentance after conversion, and what repentance is not.
First, when one repents it means that we turn to God. It is a choice to turn away from the desire of the world to a life of obedience to Christ. Isaiah 7:15 gives a good definition by stating, “refuse the evil and choose the good.” It also means that we stop living for self and start living for God. Repentance is a matter of the heart. Jesus said in the parable of the sower in Luke 8:15, “But on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, kept it and bring forth fruit with patience.” Therefore repentance is turning to God in humble obedience to his will.
Repentance is a must:
God demands repentance. Jesus preached, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”(Matt. 4:17, also see Mark 1:15) Also Jesus said in Luke 5:32, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” In Acts 3:19 the apostle Peter preaching to the Jews said “Repent therefore and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.” In Luke 13:3 Jesus said “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Every sinner must repent to be saved.
Our motivation to repent:
Our motivation to repent is guilt and sorrow for our sins and turning to God for forgiveness. We are aware of our sins and what it does to our relationship to God. Our sins have separated us from God. There is a need to make things right with God. We must be convinced of the consequences of our own sins.
Jesus promised in John 16:8 that when the Holy Spirit had come he would “convict the world in respect of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.” Convict means to prove guilty awareness of a sense of sin. Without the conviction of sin, men would feel no need to repent. Men must be aware of sin before they are willing to repent. We are all sinners. Romans 3:23 states “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” What is sin? “Sin is a transgression of the law.” (I John 3:4) Notice David’s conviction of sin in Psalms 51. Read verses 1-17. Also look at God’s love for a man who is willing to repent in Isaiah 66:2. Our seeking forgiveness motivates us to repent.
The Joy of Repentance:
I remember my joy of repentance 62 years ago in 1952 in Salisbury, N.C. The greatest joy came after I confessed the name of Christ and was immersed in water for the remission of my sins. My father, P.L. Manning baptized me into Christ. Not only I rejoiced, but my family and friends rejoiced. There is joy in heaven when one repents. Jesus said in Lk. 15:7 and verse 10 “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance. Vs. 10 “Just so I tell you there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Repentance after Conversion:
When we do wrong (sin) as a Christian, God demands repentance. Jesus said to Peter “When you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:32) Peter has to repent of his faithless behavior, and come back to the fold. Likewise when we sin we must repent and ask forgiveness. See also II Corinthians 12:21.
What Repentance Is Not:
Knowledge of sin is not repentance. Just thinking about repentance is not repentance. Sorrow for sins only with no follow up is not repentance. One must turn from the old ways of sin to full obedience to God’s will. It’s Easy! Jesus said it’s easy. He said “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Our next blog:
In the next blog we will look at confession. Please view our streaming videos: “Searching for Truth”…” About authority in religion”… What Must I Do To Be Saved”…and “Why are there so many churches.” Personal Bible studies are available by way of Skype. Please see the Skype page. If you have any question or I can help in any way send me an e mail.