Genuine Repentance

Genuine Repentance

Repentance For The Believer
Do either of these statements indicate genuine repentance? I don’t think so. Both are prompted by guilt or embarrassment rather than a heartfelt sense of remorse over the fact that the Father has been grieved. Usually people offering such apologies have no intention of changing. They just want God “off of their backs.”

Genuine repentance involves confession and the recognition that the sin was against God. It is not just “Lord, I’m sorry for my mistake,” but “Lord, I have sinned against You.” Confession acknowledges guilt. Repentance recognizes the one offended, as David’s after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed. He admitted that his sin was primarily against the LORD (Ps. 51:4). Other people may be hurt as well. However, when we hold our sin up to the love the Father expressed through the cross, we see that is where sin is darkest.

Repentance also includes taking full responsibility for our sin. David did not blame Bathsheba or make any excuses for himself. He said, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me” (Ps. 51:3 NASB). Whenever we catch ourselves blaming someone else for our sin, our repentance is incomplete. We should take full responsibility for our offense no matter what happened or who was involved. Regardless of the temptation, we are ultimately the one who chose to sin.

Also, repentance is not complete without honesty. I believe God is looking for us to be honest about our weaknesses, failures and frustrations. Honesty promotes fellowship. As long as we are open and honest with the Lord, He can continue to work with us, even after we have sinned.

We get into trouble when we start to cover things up: “Now, Lord, I know I made a mistake. But after all, everybody makes mistakes. Nobody’s perfect.” Responding this way avoids the real issue and is therefore dishonest. As long as we approach God in this fashion, there is not much He can do with us.

Repentance For The Unbeliever
Repentance means a change of mind. The unbeliever needs to change his mind about what he believes concerning Jesus and move from unbelief to belief, that Christ paid the penalty for his sin. An unsaved person needs to admit that he cannot save himself. He must trust Jesus instead of his own goodness for eternal life and change his mind about God and His payment for sin.

It is important to understand that repentance for the unbeliever is not referring to his cleaning up his own life. If he could earn forgiveness of sin and a home in heaven by changing his life through self-effort, there would be no need for the cross.

True belief and repentance are closely intertwined; one leads to the other. Jesus used the terms together when He said, “The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” … “that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed [to be believed] in His name” (Mk. 1:15; Lk. 24:46-47).

After a sinner receives Jesus, he continues to repent as he grows in Christian faith and character. This repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change in behavior.

Repent Quickly!
What happens when we delay our repentance? The Bible teaches that God disciplines those who are disobedient. When we keep going in our sin with no intention of stopping, we won’t escape the disciplining hand of the Father. However, if you and I deal with our sin genuinely, openly and immediately, God can lessen the severity of our discipline. We are wise to repent quickly.

Author: Sebastien

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