Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Repentance
I wonder what you think the word, “Repentance” means. The dictionary defines repentance as
· Feel pain, or regret for something done or not done;
· Change your mind, or conduct, because of regret;
· Having sorrow or regret over an action or inaction.
And this is of course partly true! But for the Christian, Repentance means more than these!
Repentance is a voluntary change in mind, in which the person turns from a life of sin to living a life of righteousness. “Repent!” Cried the Roman officer to his soldiers! In other words, turn around now!
The importance of repentance was central to the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 4v17; Mark 1v15); John the Baptist (Matthew 3v1-2); The Apostles (Acts 2v38; 20v21); Commanded by God (Acts 17v30); God’s will that all people repent (2 Peter 3v9; 1 Timothy 2v4)
Repentance is done in three spheres:
a) Mind (Intellect) – recognition of personal sinfulness and guilt before God (Psalm 51v3; Romans 3v20)
b) Emotional (Heart) – genuine sorrow for sin – Godly sorrow… leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7v8-10)
c) Will – decision to turn from sin, self-pleasing and self-centredness to God.
A question I often hear, is why do we need to continue to repent even though we are a Christian Disciple?
Firstly because by doing so regularly, we maintain the honour of His Holy Name. Secondly, it keeps your relationship with God pure and your soul in good health.
Going forward in repentance.
When you realize you have sinned, ask God to forgive you. Don’t give sin a chance to get hold! It may take a second to commit some kind of disobedience against God, but it also only takes a second to ask forgiveness, which God will do, if you truly mean it. For in the words of Martin Luther, “To do so no more, is the truest repentance”.
John Donne, wrote in the 17th century “Sleep with clean hands, either kept clean all day by integrity or washed clean at night by repentance.” That is good advice to take hold of. Before you sleep, confess your sins to God asking Him to forgive you for the things you have done in that day that have offended him.
When you became a Christian Disciple, your sins were forgiven through Jesus’ death on the Cross. That is when you had your “bath” as it were. That is the point when you were justified before God and declared His child. Having been justified already, you don’t need a bath anymore! But to maintain a healthy relationship with God, you do need the equivalent of a feet washing regularly and a cleansing of your sin when you confess it before your God and repent.