Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Repentance: What is it?

1 Peter 4:17
Repentance means to turn around or turn back to God. It is a reversal, a change of direction from idols to the living God. The theme of repentance is found 110 times in the Bible. John the Baptizer (Matt 3:2 and Jesus (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 5:3; 13:31) called people to repentance. Early Christian preaching focused on proclaiming Jesus as the prophesied Messiah and calling for repentance before Him. Repentance is found 11 times in Acts (5:31; 11:18). Repentance was Paul’s theme (Acts 26:20; 2 Cor. 7:10; 12:21; Rom 2:4; 2 Tim 2:25). Repentance was the warning given to the seven churches in Revelation.
The Beatitudes (Matt. 5) are good for repentance. The first four give us elements of true repentance: poverty of spirit (the confession of spiritual helplessness), sorrow for sin, meekness, and hunger and thirst for righteousness. These characteristics describe a heart that has turned back to God.

What is true repentance?

  • A condition of blessing an gift from God – 2 Chronicles 7:14; Acts 5:31; 11:18; Rom. 2:4; 2 Tim. 2:25
  • The first word of the Gospel – Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 5:3
  • Obedience to God’s command – Matt. 4:17; Acts 17:30
  • Prerequisite to forgiveness – Acts 3:19
  • The desire of God’s heart – 2 Peter 3:9

Why should we repent?

Because of the holiness of God and the response that is due Him because He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). God is too pure to look on evil (Habakkuk 1:13). Repentance is the only possible response we can give to His holiness (Isaiah 6:5). Holiness is being set apart from our former way of life. Therefore, holiness is a state of repentance. There are other reasons for repenting.
  • Our sins separate us from God – Isaiah 59:2
  • Lack of repentance saps our strength – Psalm 32:3-4
  • Unrepented guilt is a burden too heavy to bear – Psalm 38:4

We repent in order to

  • Be saved and forgiven of our sins (2 Cor. 7:10; Acts 2:38)
  • Truly live (Luke 13:3; John 10:10)
  • Obey God’s command (Matt. 3:2; Acts 17:30)
  • Be in right relationship and fellowship with God (Isaiah 66:1-2; John 15:1-4; 10-11)
  • Be in fellowship with God (Isaiah 66:2)
  • Give no place to the power of evil in our lives (John 14:30)
  • Not to lose our testimony (Revelation 2:5)