The Need for Repentance
God is calling people to lay down their rebellion against him else they perish in hell (Luke 13:3-5). Man’s sin necessitates the call for repentance in the world. Sin, in its nature, is a rebellion against God, as we see in Adam and Eve’s story in Genesis 3:6. Mankind has tended to act independently of God and his Word since The Fall. Sinning is telling God to get out of our lives because we think we don’t need him. To avoid falling into the wrath of God, we are called to repentance. We may think that because God is love, he will not send people to a place of eternal damnation. It is a false premise, as God has provided us with his means to escape the wrath. God is calling us to repent (Matthew 4:17).
God commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). He has established that no sinner will be saved except through repentance. Repentance is a requirement and not optional (Isaiah 59:1-2) if we want to be close to a holy God and have our prayers answered. Darkness and light have no communion (2 Cor. 6:14). If God, being light, had communion with the darkness, then he would have lost the ground to judge darkness, as he would be a sinner who supports all that goes on in darkness.
Meaning of Repentance
True repentance has various components, including seeing the sin in us, being sorrowful about our sins, confessing our sins, hating sin, and turning away from sin. So how do we explain the different ingredients of repentance as mentioned above?
- First, before anyone comes to God, they must come to themselves. This means that we must realize our sins like the prodigal son who came to himself (Luke 15:17). He saw himself as a sinner and nothing but a sinner. People who deny they are sinners are not anywhere close to the path of repentance.
- Secondly, there must be godly sorrow that leads to true repentance (2 Cor. 7:10). Have you ever had someone say they are sorry to brush off a conversation about a wrong they committed? Unfortunately, that’s what some people do towards God. He complains of such behaviour by the Israelites, who call on him for forgiveness but then return to their evils (Jeremiah 3:4-5). For true repentance, there must be a feeling of godly sorrow and remorse after realizing our sins against a Holy God. The Greek word “Metamelomai” means a godly sorrow of repentance (Luke 17:3-4). The word “metamelomai” is found in Matthew 21:29, 32; 27:3; 2 Corinthians 7:8; and Hebrews 7:21, which quotes Psalm 110:4. Unless we are truly sorry, our repentance can only be a way to escape God’s wrath in the moment or the immediate consequence of our sins.
- Thirdly, being sorrowful is not enough; we must confess our sins to God. Sorrow vents itself through the eyes by weeping and through the tongue by confession. To confess means we must agree with God that we have gone beyond our boundaries and need salvation. “The children of Israel stood and confessed their sins” (Neh. 9.2). With confession, you accuse yourself of your sins (2 Samuel 24:17). Confession of our sins must be voluntary, just as Balaam saw his sins and confessed (Num. 22:34).
- Fourthly, we then move to the point where we develop a deep hatred for sin. You cannot renounce your former master then still want to embrace him. Sin will always desire to have you back and master your life, but you must master it (Genesis 4:7). It is for freedom that Christ set us free. It is our duty not to be enslaved again (Gal. 5:1). We must hate sin if we are to overcome the enemy of our soul (Ezekiel 36:31). Where there is a real hatred, we not only oppose sin in ourselves but in others too (Rev. 2:2). Christ in holy displeasure whipped the money-changers out of the temple (Joh 2.15). He would not allow the temple to be made into a market. Nehemiah, similarly, rebuked the nobles for their usury (Neh. 5.7). Those who love sin instead of hating it are far from repentance! To the godly, sin is a thorn in the eye; to the wicked, it is a crown on the head: “When you do evil, then you rejoice” (Jer 11.15).
- The final nature of repentance includes a change of one’s mind and life. True repentance must be a turning away from sin. Another Greek word for repentance is “metanoeo,” which means to change one’s mind and think differently. The Bible says that John the Baptist’s urgent call for repentance (“metanoeo”) (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3) was based on the proximity of the kingdom of God; judgment was at hand (Matt 3:7; Luke 3:7). We must get to the point of seeing life from God’s point of view. Otherwise, we may remain blinded and stick to our wrong views about life and sin. The final Greek word for repentance is “metanoia,” which means a change of mind that leads to a change of behaviour. It means to change one’s way of life as the result of a complete change of thought and attitude concerning sin and righteousness. It centres on a complete U-turn of one’s life. `
God Leads You to Repentance
Finally, every step forward in sin is a step backwards from God: “they have forsaken the Lord, they have gone backward” (Isaiah 1.4). If God is of one mind, then sin will be of another. A sinner holds the statutes of heaven in contempt (Nehemiah 9:26). On the other hand, “the goodness of God leads you to repentance” (Rom 2.4). If you would love to receive Christ, click here and drop us your details for further guidance.