The Meaning of Repentance: Are You Doing It Right?

Today let’s talk about repentance~

  • Repentance is the first step toward a relationship with God.

You don’t have to read very far in the Gospels to find out about repentance.  It’s the message preached by John the Baptist and when John was throw in prison Jesus came and preached the same message Himself.  It must be pretty important.
What is it?

  • Repentance is a change of mind.

It happens when our thoughts come up against God’s thoughts, up against the reality of truth.  John was preaching repentance toward God and the people were baptized, confessing their sins.  These were Jews, the chosen people of God, but they held beliefs about God that weren’t accurate.
Those wrong beliefs guided the way they lived.
That’s a danger for us today.
We need to ask ourselves, “what’s the basis for the things we believe about God?”

God never ignores our repentance.
But it’s not the end result He’s after.

  • Repentance is a necessary step that opens the door to relationship with God.

It happens first,  before we can receive salvation.  Repentance happens when we ‘spiritually’ get it about God and ourselves.

Through repentance we change our minds about God ~
We let go of our personal notions of God,
and embrace the truth of Who God is, 
what He’s like,
and what that revelation means 
for our lives and our conduct.

Just look at the gospels.  It couldn’t be clearer.
From His first preachings in Capernaum (Matthew 4:17) until He makes His promise to the repentant thief crucified next to Him (Luke 23:39-43), Jesus Christ tells us to respond to the truth by changing our minds.

And it should keep happening as long as we live.
How many times a day do we sin?
That’s how many times a day we should repent.

I love this thought from Alan Redpath’s book, Victorious Christian Faith, “repentance. . .not just being sorry about something, but a change of mind that leads to a change of behavior.
In other words, repentance is being sorry enough to stop!

Victory over sin is an old fashioned phrase.
When was the last time you heard a sermon about that?  Or read a book about it?
Today we are pre-occupied with being happy.
Being holy is passé.

But the thing we forget is that God made us for friendship with Himself.
And our sin puts up a roadblock to that friendship.
Repentance is an awareness of my own sin and enough humility to make me admit, mingled with a longing for renewed friendship with God.

Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
Psalm 51:17 The Message

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