Monday, 4 February 2019

What is Repentance?

This is a basic question but, sadly for most Christians, people have confused ideas about what repentance means. I hope I can clear it up with this and future blog posts this month.

In its simplest form, repentance means to change one's ways. Jesus, while arguing with the Pharisees about his outreach to unsaved people, explained in Matthew 9:13 (KJV), "But go ye and learn what that meaneth, 'I will have mercy, and not sacrifice:' for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

This quote from Mark 1:4 (KJV) sheds more light on what exactly repentance means. "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."

Neither is our pedigree any use when it comes to seeking forgiveness and foresaking sin. Luke 3:8 (KJV) quotes John the Baptist telling the Pharisees, "Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, 'We have Abraham to our father:' for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."

This wonderful forgiveness of sin is granted to anybody and everybody who truly seeks it. Look at the joyful words of Acts 11:18 (KJV). "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, 'Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.'"

Repentance is a change of heart. As the Bible in Basic English renders Luke 15:7, "I say to you that even so there will be more joy in heaven when one sinner is turned away from his wrongdoing, than for ninety-nine good men, who have no need of a change of heart."

Additionally, the Apostle Paul explained in 2 Corinthians 7:10 (KJV) about the difference between godly and worldly sorrow. "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."

How wonderful it is that God, who could easily vaporize the earth in his wrath, has rather given us the great privilege of forgiveness. Through Christ, we become part of his family and share in blessings way beyond numbering. This is what I'll be emphasizing in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? People need to know how magnanimous our Lord is and what they'll miss out on if they continue to refuse his astonishing gift.

On Thursday, I'll be posting about why we must repent. I touched on that a bit in this post but I want to go deeper into the matter.

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