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- Version: NKJV
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Can You Answer this Question?
Are you absolutely certain that you will escape the wrath of God on Judgment Day? Are you certain that you will enjoy the love and fellowship of God for all eternity? Your eternal destiny is the most important thing in the world. Jesus said, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37). Jesus warned, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). The only way to escape the wrath of God is by genuine repentant faith. So what is true repentance?
The Foundation of Repentance
1. Admit your wickedness. Your sin has separated you from God. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God” (Isaiah 59:2). Say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you” (Luke 15:18). You personally have broken the laws of God intentionally, repeatedly, and without remorse. You have lied. You have stolen. You have been sexually immoral in your heart. You have used His holy name as a curse word. You have dishonored your parents. You have been angry with people and so murdered them in your heart. Do you admit this?
2. Fear the fury of God. Do you understand that God is angry with you over your sin? “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18). If you die in your sin you will face the undiluted fury and fierceness of Almighty God. “He himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever” (Revelation 14:10-11). Flee from the wrath to come (cf. Luke 3:7)!
3. Accept God’s only solution. God, in His great love, provides the only solution for our sin problem. God sent His Son Jesus who died in our place to pay for our sin. Good works cannot save you. Even your best righteous works are soiled with sin. “But we are like an unclean thing, and all our rightousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Christ died in our place to pay our penalty so that God could offer us forgiveness and salvation. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him … the LORD has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6). Will you accept God’s solution?
The Definition of True Repentance
Repentance is an inward change of mind, emotion and will that, upon salvation, leads to an ever greater outward change of actions.
1. Repentance is NOT a turning from sin to earn salvation. God does not ask us to stop our sin before we come to Him for salvation. You do not get rid of a disease before you come to the doctor. Instead, you come to the doctor in order to get rid of the disease. You do not stop sin before you come to God. Instead, you come to God in order to be cleansed from sin.
2. Repentance involves a change of mind. A repentant person agrees with God that their sin is sin. When the Holy Spirit is preparing you for salvation, you will come to understand that your evil thoughts, words, attitudes and actions are an offense to God. The wicked boast in what they should be ashamed of. A truly repentant person agrees with God that sin is sin and that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God.
You used to think lust, drunkenness, foul language, anger, violence and so on were just common practice. The Holy Spirit changes your mind to agree this is wrong and you are breaking God’s laws. The more you learn about God and sin the more deeply you will repent. A person who quits a sin merely because it is unhealthy, while not admitting it is evil, has not repented. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts” (Isaiah 55:7). Do you see your sins as wrong?
3. A change of emotion. A repentant person feels shame and disgust over their sin. And they love God and righteousness. “Blessed are those who mourn [weep and grieve]” over sin (Matthew 5:4). Unsaved people enjoy their guilty pleasures—their sins. Repentant people are grieved over their sin. “Put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done” (Ezekiel 9:4). Even when we do come to saving faith in Christ we retain our flesh. We are still tempted by the deceitful pleasures of sin. But in our new man we are grieved over any hint of attraction to sin.
We hate the fact that we still have to battle the desires for sin. The Holy Spirit brings powerful conviction [great blame and shame] upon the Christian who falls into sin (John 16:8). We are ashamed of sin (Isaiah 44:9), and we love God and His ways (1 John 4:19; 5:3). Are you ashamed of your sins?
4. A change of will. A truly repentant person wants to stop sinning and start serving God. A criminal may be forced to stop certain crimes but does not want to stop. The reality of a jail cell forces him to stop. A truly repentant person cries out to God for deliverance and victory over sin, and fully intends upon turning from sin to serve God (Romans 7:18, 21). Do you want to turn from your sins to love God?
5. A change to faith in Christ. A truly repentant person turns away from sin in their mind, emotion, and will to a saving faith in Christ. “Testifying … repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Those who trust their good works for salvation have not yet repented.
Repentance turns away from relying on good works for salvation to relying on Jesus alone who died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus is God manifested in the flesh and He died as our substitute (in our place) and arose from the dead. He bore our sins in His own body on the cross. Christ died to pay the death penalty which we owed for our sin. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world” (Acts 17:30).
The Fruit of Repentance
“They should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:20). True repentance is proven by a radically changed life. “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8). If there is no progressive change there has been no repentance. “Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:10). Zacchaeus the tax collector said to Jesus, “‘Look Lord, I give half my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house’” (Luke 19:8-9).
Cry Out To God
“Take words of repentance with you, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, ‘Forgive all our sin and accept what is good, so that we may repay You with praise’” (Hosea 14:2 HCSB). God commands us to return with prayers of repentance.
Here is an example of what to pray, “Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. Have mercy on me O God according to Your steadfast love. I am so sorry for my sins. I repent. I know my sin is an offense to You and I hate my sin. I want to stop sinning. I believe Jesus You are the Christ the Son of the living God. I believe that You died for my sin and arose from the dead. I trust You Jesus for my salvation. Blot out all of my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity. Cleanse me from sin. Jesus, I ask You to be Lord of my life and change me. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. In Jesus name, amen.”
Does that prayer express the desire of your heart toward God? If so, pray to God in your own words.
Next Steps to Grow
1. Attend a soul-winning church this week.
2. Get baptized.
3. Fellowship with true Christians.
4. Read your Bible daily.
5. Pray throughout the day.
6. Ask how you can serve.
7. Begin evangelizing others today.
“Repentance is to leave
the sins we loved before
and show that we in earnest grieve
by doing so no more.”
– CH Spurgeon
By: Dr. DRD