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The Urgency of Repentance

January 26, 2016

Grace to you! When scripture calls us to repent, what immediately comes to mind? Do you think of God pointing His finger in your face over all the bad things you have thought and done? Or does the idea of having immense sorrow over your actions seem to be what repentance is about? Biblically speaking, what are some key points we need to think about when the Bible calls us to repentance?

Scripture summarizes God’s message regarding repentance: “God commands all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30) The word ‘repent’ is a military term and means an ‘about face’ or ‘turn of direction’. We are going one direction in life and God’s call is for us to change directions. We are living for something other than the Lord Jesus. God issues the decree for us to do a 180 and turn back to Him. But what all is involved in repentance?

Repentance means I take full responsibility for my sin. The word ‘confess’ (1 John 1:9) in the Greek New Testament is comprised of two words meaning ‘same word’. In essence to confess a sin means to ‘say what God says about that sin.’ It means I take myself to court with God, agree that what I did was sin, and that I need to turn (repent) from that sin back to God! This is the true intention of biblical repentance and confession. Any remorse over sin that does not lead to biblical change is not repentance.

Repentance also means I stop believing and trusting whatever idol I’m committed to and instead trust in the Lord. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Idolatry is always marked by a whining and complaining attitude. A heart that trusts the Lord is marked by thanksgiving and praise to Jesus. (See Romans 1:21-25) Idols are very alluring. They always seek to win our love and trust over the Lord. Repentance will mean I stop loving my idols and love Jesus instead.

Having sorrow over sin is not enough to qualify as biblical repentance. If we only have sorrow over our sin, we can go in two wrong directions. We can despair of any hope due to the excessive sorrow over our sin and, therefore, never see the grace that Jesus has for us for all of our sin. Or, we can seek to earn God’s favor by showing Him how sorry we feel about our sin. This is a works righteousness. Our feeling bad over our sin does not earn God’s favor. Only the blood of Christ can make a person accepted by God! (Hebrews 9:22)

However, with true repentance not only should there be a true sorrow over sin but an awakening of hope and joy at the grace of God in Christ that is available to me as a sinner in need! In short, if I only feel bad about my sin but don’t have revived hope in Christ as my Redeemer, then I’ve not truly repented. God wins our hearts through love and grace. And it is only Jesus’ grace and love that will conquer my love for my sin. So when you think about God’s call for repentance in your life, think of it as God’s call for you to have joy in Him! Repentance, therefore, means to take joy in God Himself!

Looking for a church home? Come visit South Whitwell Baptist, 133 South Oak Street, Whitwell. Sunday Service: 10:45 AM. Visit our web page:



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