Is the route you are traveling taking you away from God? If so, it’s time to make a U-turn. God asks you to repent—to do an about-face. If you don’t, the consequences will be disastrous.
God calls us to repent.
God says that unless you repent you will perish (Luke 13:3). No one can have peace with God unless he repents, for repentance is ending our resistance and surrendering to His will.
God commands men to “repent … and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Paul preached “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). God commands all men everywhere to repent of their sin (Acts 17:30).
Sin is refusing God His right to govern me even though He made me. Sin is rebellion against God. It is the determination to please myself, no matter what God says. It is saying in my heart, “I’m going to have my own way regardless of God’s claims upon me.” Do you realize that you have lived like this?
What is repentance?
Repentance is not merely remorse for sin, for we can regret the trouble sin brings us without leaving our sin. Repentance is not conviction, for often we know we are doing wrong but don’t change our ways. Repentance is not fear of hell, for we may be terrified at the thought of death, but keep living as we are.
True repentance occurs in the heart, by the work of the Holy Spirit. It is reaching a place where I am horrified by my sinfulness, grieve deeply because of it, acknowledge it before God, and completely forsake it. It means sur-rendering entirely to God and honestly intending to obey Him in all things. When we repent, we turn to God rather than trying to run from Him. Repentance means making all wrongs right as far as possible. It means giving up all sinful practices. It means giving up unbelief and trusting in Christ for pardon.
Results of repentance.
God says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Genuine repentance results in confessing and forsaking all sin. Whether you are a professing Christian with sin in your life or someone who has never surrendered your life to Christ, the choice is repent or perish. We must turn from a selfish life of pursuing our own will, or we will be destroyed. We must turn in brokenness of heart to God, by faith seeking His mercy in Christ. We must be completely determined to please and serve Him. Otherwise, we will burn forever in the lake of fire. Which shall it be?
When a person experiences “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21) he will want to be baptized and unite with God’s people. He experiences much more than just “turning over a new leaf.” He receives a new life—the divine life! He is “born again,” and that newly born life shows itself in right living. Salvation (forgiveness and eternal life) comes first as a gift from God, without any merit of our own; the good works of the Christian follow as a result of being saved. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19).
If you’re going the wrong way, repentance is the only way to get back on the right road.
Christian Light Publications, Harrisonburg, VA 22802 Phone (540) 434-0768.