Seven Things You Need to Know about Repentance
When it comes to repentance there are seven things that are important to know.
- Repentance is a big word, a God word.
- Repentance is initiated by God. In Acts 18:11, Luke wrote that God granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.
- Repentance is a change of mind and it conveys the idea of turning from sin to God. Bonnell Thornton described repentance this way: Some often repent, yet never reform; they resemble a man traveling in a dangerous path, who frequently starts and stops, but never turns back. Repentance covers the whole process of turning from sin to God.
- Repentance is most often used to describe the conversion of the lost. It is the process of going from unbelief to belief in Jesus Christ.
- Repentance is accompanied by godly sorrow. This is much deeper than merely feeling sorrowful for getting caught doing something wrong. Godly sorrow recognizes the emptiness of the life of sin and the painful consequences it brings about in the lives of others. 2 Corinthians 7:10
- Repentance cannot be reduced to a formula. Confessing sins and asking God to forgive those sins does not equal repentance. Far too many believers apply this formula on a daily basis, yet never experience a change of heart or mind.
- God’s kindness leads us to repentance. “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:4) This kindness is most clearly seen and experienced through faith in the finished work of Jesus regarding the forgiveness of sins.
I’ll end this post by sharing two quotes on repentance.
Evangelical repentance is repentance of sin as sin: not of this sin nor of that, but of the whole mass. We repent of the sin of our nature as well as the sin of our practice. We bemoan sin within us and without us. We repent of sin itself as being an insult to God. Anything short of this is a mere surface repentance, and not a repentance which reaches to the bottom of the mischief. Repentance of the evil act, and not of the evil heart, is like men pumping water out of a leaky vessel, but forgetting to stop the leak. Some would dam up the stream, but leave the fountain still flowing; they would remove the eruption from the skin, but leave the disease in the flesh. —Charles Haddon Spurgeon
True repentance will entirely change you; the bias of your souls will be changed, then you will delight in God, in Christ, in His Law, and in His people. –George Whitefield
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