A young Christian ( Methodist) who has been searching the scriptures to discover what genuine repentance is all about.
Until we are confronted with the truth of scripture—the knowledge of God and His love for mankind—we see the world as it is—a normal place where we do anything we deem fit.
The Bible makes us to understand that living in the world and following Jesus Christ are two absolutely very distinct ways of living. Whiles the former seems natural, and familiar (though deceptive) because that's what we met since we were birthed, the latter seems unnatural and bizarre and difficult and weird because most of us came to know that in the later years of our lives.
Now, it is a fact that when we're in the world we make mistakes and take decisions that we really regret and would like to reverse or probably rewrite all over again and start afresh. But unfortunately that limiting precious resource made available to us by God never gives us the opportunity and chance to do so. I mean the time factor of life.
This experience brings to bare the reality of the issue of repentance.
What Then Is Repentance?
The Bible, many times, mentions the word "repent" because it is what transitions us from our sinful lives into the life God calls us to live.
Repentance is from a Greek word metanoia which means "a significant change of one's mind." So rudimentarily, the concept of repentance in the Bible means 'a change of one's mind.' The 'mind' is the mental faculty of the human body where all life's decisions are taken. However, the definition of repentance here does not mean an intellectual judgement or transformation. This is the change of mind that has everything to do with behavior. It contains the idea of "rue." To rue is to have a regret or repentant heart of a past action or inaction that had taken place.
Repentance also means a sorrowful turn away from one's past actions into a new kind of living—not only an intellectual assessment but most importantly an emotional and visceral response and assessment. This is basically what repentance is all about. And over and over again God is calling us unto repentance. The Bible says this world is full of darkness—so much evil at every length and width and height and breadth of it. God is light and He bids us to come unto Him so that we can be enlightened on the realities of life.
Jesus said, "Repent and believe in the Gospel, for the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand"—Mark 1:15.
Peter the Apostle also said in Acts 2:38, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
There are many passages in the Bible that tells us that God is concerned about saving us—changing our minds towards Himself—so that we may live the abundant life he has for you and me. So that we can have eternal life and escape eternal death in hades.
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
— Acts 3:19
Forms of Repentance
Repentance comes in two major forms:
- God's Calling: Here God directly calls us unto repentance—mostly in an instant. The story of Paul is a perfect illustration. In Acts chapter 9, from the verse 1 to 6, we see how God converted Saul in an instant when he was persecuting the church. He went to the High Priest and desired that letters be given to him to Damascus and into the synagogues to bring Christians bound in chains. "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus; and suddenly there showed round about him a light from heaven. And he fell to the earth, and a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he replied, who art thou Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what will thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him: Arise and go into the city and it shall be told what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood there speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man."—Acts 9: 3-6.
Read also Isaiah 55:1-11—an invitation to answer God's call to repentance.
Here, we see the dramatic conversion of Saul. It all happened in an instant. There are many other instance like this one, where God calls people directly unto repentance.
Now, in the above passage of the Bible, Paul asked two significant questions that I believe every one of us must ask. The first question refers to a question of salvation (Who Art Thou Lord) and the second is a question of destiny (What Will You Have Me To Do). These are necessary questions I believe everyone of us must ask.
Forms of Repentance Cont'd
2. Our Own Deliberate Decision: Here, we turn away from our past actions and inactions in deep sorrow and unto God for salvation. In the book of Acts, the Bible says that "when the people heard Peter, they were cut to the heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?" This is an expression of sorrow and deep regret after they heard the Gospel of Christ on the day of Pentecost.
Also in Psalm 51, David made a famous confession after he has been confronted by the prophet Nathan about his sinful act against his servant Uriah, the Hittite and his wife Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11:1-27. David said in Psalm 51:1-3, "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgression; and my sin is ever before me." This is repentance. Where we cry unto the Lord in deep sorrow and humility in our hearts and besought Him to forgive and cleanse us by the blood of His son Jesus Christ.
Genuine repentance is what God accepts. By genuine repentance, I mean the one without mediocrity; lukewarmness. The Bible says that God will spit you out of his mouth. You've got to make a decision. You are either warm or you are cold. Now, by genuine repentance, I mean the one in which we have turned around completely—a one hundred and eighty degree turn around. However, most us have turned around up to only ninety degrees, and God is calling us, He says you can't live your life like that.
- Romans 12:2, says that "we shouldn't conform to the patterns of this world but we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we may prove what is the good and perfect will of God." This is the metanoia the Bible speaks about. Have you been renewed in the spirit of your mind? This begins with a conscious decision and then the Holy Spirit comes to help you out.
- Pslam 51:16-17 also teaches us how genuine repentance looks like: " For thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not accept. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." That is it! A broken and a contrite heart is that heart which acknowledges its sin and is sorrowful and humbles itself at the feet of the Lord for mercy. What this also means is that your offerings and other gifts to God cannot please him to take away your sins—only contrition and brokenness can.
The Way Forward And Conclusion
Are you ready to drink the free water, and milk, and the undiluted pure honey the Lord is inviting you to come for? Do you have burdens that you can't carry any longer? Come to Jesus now! He's all you need.
Follow these steps prayerfully to obtain salvation from the Lord:
- Believe in the love of God for you. Don't you ever allow the devil to intimidate you with empty philosophy and deception. God is calling everyone—even the guiltiest to come to Him.
- Believe that Jesus Christ died for you and rose on the third for your redemption and justification.
- Specifically confess your sins to God. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness(1 John 1:9)
- Get baptized and confirmed in a true Bible believing church. Not that which preaches only miracles and signs and wonders.
- Spend time every day studying the word of truth—the Bible.
- And pray at all times. For that is how the master went; should not the servant tread it still.
God loves you and may His steadfast love abide with you always.
Your comments are warmly welcome.
Listen to the hymn below and pay particular attention to the words
© 2020 Ernest Festus Awudey
Ernest Festus Awudey (author) from Ho, Ghana. on August 15, 2020:
Thanks for reading Vandna. God will never despise a truely repented heart.
thoughtsprocess from Navsari (India) on August 15, 2020:
Thank you so much for sharing your views on repentance. I loved it.
Ernest Festus Awudey (author) from Ho, Ghana. on August 13, 2020:
That's an encouraging comment from you Celestine. God bless you for reading.
Celestine on August 13, 2020:
I think I love your writings. Keep it up and God bless you.
Ernest Festus Awudey (author) from Ho, Ghana. on July 29, 2020:
Thanks so much MsDora. That's very nice and inspiring.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 29, 2020:
Thanks for sharing your insight on the meaning and different forms of repentance. No one less can judge whether we're pretending or obeying the principles of repentance. You help us do it right.
Esenam on July 29, 2020:
Thanks for sharing Ernest.
Ernest Festus Awudey (author) from Ho, Ghana. on July 28, 2020:
Thank you Miss Pamela... That's my hope, that people will read, understand and practice it.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 28, 2020:
This is an excellent article about the importance of repentance, and I fully agree. I like the scripture verses you quoted.