In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:1-2). The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:16-17). Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19). The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9).
A concept that parents, grandparents, principals, teachers, coaches, Sunday school teachers, etc., have always attempted to instill in children at a very early age, is to say “I’m sorry”, when settling an altercation, if they are guilty of an offense. Do you remember being placed in that uncomfortable and often embarrassing position when you were the aggressor, and your parent instructed you to say, I’m sorry? Obediently, you repeated those words to the individual that had been on the receiving end of your fury. When you repeated those words, did you really mean it? Were you really sorry for what you had done? Or, were you trying to avoid a punishment, or something a bit more painful? So many times, children are not sorry, and they feel absolutely no remorse for their actions. They simply do as they are told, to diffuse the situation. Although this is a very important lesson for children to learn, they should also be taught, that those words should be uttered, only when coming from a place of contrition.
Today, the biblical teachings on repentance are not the focus of many sermons, as they once were. These teachings are very often considered to be unpopular by many, in the world of Christendom! However, our Lord and Savior commanded that we repent of our sins. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the scribes and Pharisees questioned His disciples saying, “How is it that He eateth with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, He saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. So many have exhibited an outward show of receiving salvation, without an inward transformation of the heart, the mind, and the soul, much like a child who says, “I’m sorry”, without remorse. Repentance requires change; a change of heart, a change of relationships and lifestyle, and a change of mind. Change is not always easy, nor is it always welcomed! Repentance is, “a change of mind; it means to turn around. In the Biblical sense repentance refers to a deeply seated and thorough turning from self to God. It occurs when a radical turning to God takes place, an experience in which God is recognized as the most important fact of one’s existence.” The Word of God tells us, that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing the Word of God. When a sinner hears and accepts the Word of God, they are convicted in their hearts. They acknowledge that they are sinners, and they begin to see themselves as Paul described himself in Romans 7:24, when he said, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” When Isaiah saw the LORD, he said, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” When in the presence of Almighty God, we see ourselves as wretched, undone, and unclean! When turning to the Lord, there is a feeling of remorse, one becomes sorrowful because of their sinfulness, and sin is abhorred! There is a turning away from sin, and turning to Christ! It is wonderful to know, that when we come to the Lord with a contrite spirit, He will in no wise cast us out. God will not banish us to a deserted island, to complete this transformation ourselves! No indeed! Come to the Lord, that your sins might be blotted out. Allow God to work a work on your heart, your mind, your attitude, and your soul. I was dead in trespasses and sins, but praise God I have been made alive through the grace and mercy of God through Christ Jesus! Repent ye therefore, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! I read an article which said, in true Biblical repentance, there will be three things to occur as God does a work of grace upon the sinner’s heart:
~ Conviction – When sin is admitted (Psalm 32:5)
~ Contrition – When sin is abhorred (II Corinthians 7:10)
~ Conversion -When sin is abandoned (Proverbs 28:13)
Scriptures: Acts 2:38, Luke 13:1 Hosea 14:1, Jeremiah 3:6