Question: Are you willing to repent?
There it is. Right between the eyes. Sounds so simple, so fundamental, so basic.
Answer: Of course. That’s the right answer, right? What genuine believer of Jesus Christ would say no?
I don’t want the “right” answer from your head. I want the answer you know is deep in your heart.
Are you willing to repent?
For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10
Feeling bad about our sin is not the same as repentance. Feeling bad doesn’t result in change. Feeling bad without appropriate change of behavior, attitude, and action is simply feeling bad and according to 2 Corinthians 7:10 leads to death.
Merriam Webster on-line defines REPENT : “to feel or show that you are sorry for something bad or wrong that you did and that you want to do what is right”
According to this definition – feeling sorry for something bad or wrong you did and that you want to do what is right is sufficient to qualify as repentance.
I don’t want to nitpick but feeling and wanting are not the same as actually repenting – changing, making new choices, saying no to temptation, resisting, fighting, turning away from sin and turning towards God.
Are you willing to repent?
Sometimes we feel bad about our sin because we know it is wrong and yet we continue in it because we not quite ready to give it up yet. Any of this sound familiar?
Easton’s Bible Dictionary expresses the distinction between feeling bad and true repentance.
“The verb metamelomai is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).
(2.) Metanoeo, meaning to change one’s mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun metanoia, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.”
I ask again. Are you willing to repent?
Repentance is much more than a change in our behavior – although it includes that – it is a change of heart that results in a determined fleeing from sin and a passionate, intentional, determined, unwavering pursuit towards God.
Will we do it perfectly? No. Will we fail at times? Yes. Do we give up in despair? No. No. We get up, confess our sin, ask for and receive God’s forgiveness, remind our self of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, the blood, His love, His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness and move forward.
I have heard it said, “For every one look at our sin, take ten looks at Jesus and the cross.” A good practice to develop.
“The first of Martin Luther’s famous Ninety-five Theses was this: ‘When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent,” He willed that the whole life of believers should be one of repentance. Each day we turn afresh in faith and repentance toward God. We rediscover our first love all over again so that we’re not tempted to engage in spiritual adultery. The key to continual and deeper spiritual renewal and revival is the continual re-discovery of the gospel. ‘”
I was preaching to myself today and thought I’d let you listen in.
Diane Hunt served for 16 years on the staff of America’s Keswick until recently when she and her husband relocated to North Carolina. She now continues serving as a contributing writer and Partner Care consultant. Diane is also a Biblical Counselor, speaker, teacher, and author. She delights in the opportunities she has as a women’s conference and retreat speaker to share from God’s word. Many of her illustrations are drawn from her relational experiences as a wife, mother, and mema. They are the very relationships that bring her the greatest joy and the most fun!