Repentance is more than simply saying “Sorry”.
‘Sorry’ is most abused word in the English dictionary. Have you experienced someone treat you very badly and then say, ‘Sorry!’ You hope they feel remorse for what they did and will make amends but they just go on with their obnoxious behavior till you run out of patience and say ‘Enough is enough!’ Repentance is more than that.
If we get exasperated by someone abusing our goodness and causing us to suffer repeatedly, imagine how God feels seeing the wickedness in the world? How often we have said, ‘God I’m sorry I will not do it again! Just give me one more chance… get me out of this mess and I promise I will change.’ God steps in and saves us out of that situation. But in hardly any time we forget what we promised and do the same thing.
We need to understand what Biblical repentance is much more than just saying, “Sorry” and going back to one’s old ways.
Godly repentance involves:
- Thinking differently,
- Changing our mind for the better,
- Regretting our sins,
- Changing our conduct,
- Heartily amending our ways,
- Feeling abhorrence of our past sins,
- Regretting our past sins and
- Changing our conduct for the better.
Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” NIV There isn’t a single person on earth who has not sinned. Of those born the only sinless human being was Jesus Christ. God sent Jesus His Son to make a way for us sinners to escape destruction due to our sins. We all need repentance.
Jesus Himself said, ” I came not to call the righteous ones to repentance, but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin).” Mark 2:17 AMP
A celebration in heaven!
Did you know that for every single sinner who returns to God, there is a great celebration in heaven? In Luke 15:7 Jesus says, “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one [especially] wicked person who repents (changes his mind, abhorring his errors and misdeeds, and determines to enter upon a better course of life) than over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need of repentance.” AMP
That is how God is. Like the father of the prodigal son, He waits for us to turn from our evil and wicked ways. He wants us to turn away from our wrongdoing, every evil we did in the past and change by living a life pleasing to Him.
Sin causes us great suffering. The only way to overcome this suffering is by repenting. Acts 3:19 instructs us, to “repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord.”
When we sincerely repent God erases and blots out our wrongs and refreshes us! It is simple and straightforward. It doesn’t matter what you have done, if we sincerely repent, God will surely forgive.
The Rich Man and Lazarus
God wants us to trust Him, love Him and repent for the sins that grieved Him. The sad truth is that His love doesn’t always receive a positive response from some people.
Jeremiah 5:3 says, “O Lord, do not your eyes look on the truth? [They have meant to please You outwardly, but You look on their hearts.] You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; You have consumed them, but they have refused to take correction or instruction. They have made their faces harder than a rock, they have refused to repent and return to You.” AMP
In Luke 16 verses 19 -31 Jesus shared the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. The rich man lived his life as he pleased and found himself in hell after his death. He saw the beggar Lazarus sitting beside Abraham and begged that he be sent to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue, as he was suffering in the fire of hell. Abraham said, “Between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” NIV
The rich man told Abraham, “I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” Abraham answered saying, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.” The rich man said, “If someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” Abraham replied, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
We are given the chance to repent for our sins only while we live. Those who die have no chance to repent, make amends and get in right standing with God. God holds our very breath in His hands. If He wants He can put an end to a person’s life in one moment by just speaking one word. In the world, we give a lot of respect to human leaders with authority, doesn’t God who gave us life deserve much more respect, reverence and worship from us?
Sin tarnishes us
Imagine you had a bath and put on beautiful brand new clothes that cost you a fortune. You dress up to attend a wedding. As you walk someone splashes mucky sewage water from the gutter on to you, what would you do? Would carry on the same way, smelling awful and feeling dirty? No! you would rush back, wash and wear clean clothes! Wouldn’t you?
God expects us to do the same with sin too. Whenever we slip and fall, God wants us to run to Him and get cleaned up again. Just as parents help their children clean up after they get dirty in the playground, God is a loving Father who cares for His children. He sacrificed His only Son Jesus to save us from our sins!
John 3:16 says it clearly, “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.”
God’s love and forgiveness
Our wonderful God who loves us abundantly is willing to overlook every sin for our sake. Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
No matter what you have done wrong, don’t hide it. Take it up to Jesus, repent and He will surely forgive you. Remember the criminal who was crucified next to Jesus? This criminal repented for his sins and said to Jesus, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:42-43 NIV
God is so wonderful! We don’t have to stand upside down or go on many pilgrimages to receive forgiveness for our sins. He doesn’t ask us for money or ask us to make animal sacrifices to give us His acceptance and love. Instead, HE PAID THE PRICE, HE PROVED HIS LOVE FOR US by sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins!
This why Ephesians 2:8 says, “You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own.” CEV
Jesus left heaven for us
Our Lord Jesus could have easily reigned over mankind in heaven. He chose instead to leave that throne and be born as a lowly human being, to die on the cross and become the sacrifice for our sins. Do you know anyone who could make such a great sacrifice – give up His throne, give up His life, take on the punishment for all humanity’s sins just for the sake of LOVE?
The love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus reminds us to live a good life. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He cleanses us from all our sins. We have no more guilt to worry about, no more fear of perdition and the fire of hell. After being cleansed of all sin, who would want to go and fall into the same pit of destruction?
In Philippians 2:12, Paul reminds his disciples to “Work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).” AMPC
God wants you to be His forever!
Our God, our Creator doesn’t want any of us to perish. He calls us to repentance so we can live not just on this earth for eternity. Today, Jesus is asking you if you want to spend eternity with Him in heaven. What is your answer to Him?
Are you ready to choose repentance for all your sins? If you want to do so, say this prayer, “Lord Jesus, thank You for being my Savior. Thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross to save me from the consequences of sin. I am sorry for the sins I have committed (name them_____) I repent for grieving Your heart. Please help me to overcome temptations. Teach me how to live a life that is pleasing to You, Amen!
The Gift of Salvation
If you are someone who would like to know more about Jesus and is eager to receive forgiveness for your sins by accepting Him as your Savior, you can say a simple prayer and ask Him to be your Savior.
Say, “Jesus, please come into my heart. I accept You as my personal Savior. You died on the cross to set me free from all my sins. I receive forgiveness for my sins through Your sacrifice. Thank You for the gift of eternal life and Your everlasting love! Teach me how to live a good life from now on, in Jesus name I pray, Amen!”
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