Repentance Topical Study

<p><strong><span class="heading-xl"><span class="heading-lg">Repentence in Scripture</span></span></strong></p><p><span class="body-copy">Biblical words translated from Hebrew and Greek as &quot;repentance&quot; include the two themes of remorse over sin and of turning away from it. Both are of urgent importance. Remorse is an emotional driver of turning away from sin. But remorse without active turning away from sin is useless to the sinner&#39;s victims. (Men who repeatedly beat women may be remorseful every time.)</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">The false repentance the Bible highlights is close to feeling sorry for yourself. It can be a delicious feeling that makes us think real change is happening while, in fact, we are hardening our hearts to that change.</span></p><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/2%20Samuel%2024%3A16">2 Samuel 24:16</a>, God&#39;s response to David&#39;s repentance</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Isaiah%2055%3A7">Isaiah 55:7</a>, return to the Lord</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Job%2042%3A6">Job 42:6</a>, Job repents</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Acts%202%3A38">Acts 2:38</a>, Peter calls the belivers to repentance:&nbsp;Israel must now repent of its rejection of the Messiah and believe that Jesus is&nbsp;Lord.</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Acts%203%3A19">Acts 3:19</a>, &quot;repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Acts%2026%3A17-18">Acts 26:17-18</a>, turn from darkness to light</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Romans%202%3A4">Romans 2:4</a>, &quot;Do you not realize that God&#39;s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy-sm"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/1%20Corinthians%207%3A10">1 Corinthians 7:10</a>,&nbsp;Being sorry is not enough; it must lead to a change of life.</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/2%20Corinthians%207%3A10">2 Corinthians 7:10</a>, godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/1%20Thessalnians%201%3A9">1 Thessalnians 1:9</a>, turn from idols to serve a living God</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/2%20Timothy%202%3A24-25">2 Timothy 2:24-25</a>, come to know the truth</span></span></li></ul><p><strong><span class="heading-sm">God&#39;s Consistently Calls Israel to Repentance</span></strong></p><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Isaiah%2030%3A15">Isaiah 30:15</a>, in repentance and rest is your salvation</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Ezekiel%2018%3A32">Ezekiel 18:32</a>, repent and live</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Ezekiel%2033%3A11">Ezekiel 33:11</a>, repentance is&nbsp; God&#39;s pleasure</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Jeremiah%2018%3A8">Jeremiah 18:8</a>, if you repent of evil, God will not inflict the disaster that he had planned</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Hosea%2012%3A6">Hosea 12:6</a>, hold fast to love and justice</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Jonah%203">Jonah 3</a>,&nbsp;Israel&#39;s failure to repent receives an almost mocking reproof in Jonah, where the prophet reluctantly calls Nineveh to repentance, and, amazingly, they respond</span></li></ul><p><strong><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="heading-sm">The Gospels Begin with a Call to Repentance</span></span></strong></p><p><span class="body-copy">Compared to the Old Testament calls to repentance, these gospel calls to repentance receive greater urgency: the kingdom of God has arrived.&nbsp;</span></p><ul><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Matthew%203%3A8">Matthew 3:8</a>, John the Baptist reiterates the need for repentance to be completed in action, calling the people to &quot;bear fruit worthy of repentance&quot;</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Matthew%204%3A17">Matthew 4:17</a>, &quot;repent for the kingdom of God is near&quot;</span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Mark%201%3A4">Mark 1:4</a>, John the Baptist calls for repentance</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Mark%201%3A14-15">Mark 1:14-15</a>, Jesus calls for repentance</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Luke%203%3A3">Luke 3:3</a>, repentance is &quot;for the forgiveness of sins,&quot; and therefore needs to procede from forgivenes</span></span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/John%206%3A65">John 6:65</a>, come to Jesu</span></li></ul><p><strong style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="heading-lg">Reflections about Repentence</span></strong></p><p><strong><span class="heading-sm">What is Repentance?</span></strong></p><p><span class="body-copy">Especially when people get addicted to their sins, such as in cases of lust, alcoholism, and gluttony, faith is required to believe that a future without practicing the addiction will actually be better. The addict needs a believable sponsor to assure him or her that repentance will be painful and totally worth it. Freedom may be reached only by going<em> through </em>repentance.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">Repentance is knowing that God never gives up on us, and so we must never give up on ourselves. Repentance means turning from the despairing feeling that we&#39;re stuck with our past, with all its habits and memories, to the hope of a fresh new beginning every single day of our lives.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">Christians believe that only God can enable repentance (Acts 11; 2 Timothy 2). On our own we are usually too stubborn and proud to do it. After all, to say &quot;What I did was wrong, I&#39;m really sorry about it, and I will amend my life&quot; requires a death within our proud and stubborn self. We need to have Christ in us, enabling our old self with its fondest lusts to die and a new life &mdash; the Christ-life &mdash; to shine through. And for this transformation we have to count the cost. It&#39;s going to hurt. But the alternative is personal disaster. So a full account of repentance includes not only turning away from sin, but also turning, or returning, to Jesus Christ.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">Repentance is as much a gift as grace. In fact, grace precedes repentance, because apart from knowing God forgives, we would never have the courage to be honest about our sin. As the psalmist says, &quot;If you, O L<span class="small-caps">ord</span>, should mark iniquities, L<span class="small-caps">ord</span>, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered&quot; (Psalm 130:3-4)</span></p><p><strong><span class="heading-sm">Sinners Must Repent</span></strong></p><p><span class="body-copy">C<span class="body-copy">hristians believe that only God can enable repentance, but, as defined, only sinners must do it. Repentance is God&#39;s assignment for sinners &mdash; to hate our sin, to grieve over it, and to run away from it. Here the sinner&#39;s failure is an inevitable and teachable moment. Failure to be good teaches us our utter dependence on Christ in us, which is really just a case of coming to our senses. Predictably, C. S. Lewis is eloquent on the topic: &quot;In one sense, the road back to God is a road of moral effort, of trying harder and harder. But in another sense it is not trying that is going to bring us home. All this trying leads u</span>p to the vital moment at which you turn to God and say, `You must do this. I can&#39;t.&#39;&quot; (</span>C.S. Lewis, <em>Mere Christianity, in The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics</em>, HarperOne, 2002, p. 81<span class="body-copy">) Then the sinner tries hard again, fai<span class="body-copy">ls again, appeals to God again. As in anything else, persistence fortified by the grace of God can prevail in the end. We have all met remarkably sanctified Christians. They are our sponsors for the road ahe</span>ad.</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">&quot;[Repen<span class="body-copy">tance] is about our true condition. We begin to see our fallen inclinations the way God does, and realize how deep-rooted is the rottenness in our hearts. This awareness grows slowly, over many years, because God mercifully shows us only a little at a time. But he sees it all. His is like the eye of a surgeon, which sees through to the sickness deep within. There is no other way for us to be healed. It&#39;s wh</span>en the surgeon says, &#39;All we can do is keep him comfortable,&#39; that you&#39;re really in trouble.&quot;(</span>Greene,&nbsp;Frederica Matthewes.&nbsp;http://frederica.com/writings/whatever-happened-to-repentance.html.<span class="body-copy">)</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">&quot;Most of us prefer remorse to repentance. We would rather feel badly about the damage we have done than get estimates on the cost of repair. We would rather learn to live with guilt than face the hard work of a new life.&quot; <span class="body-copy-sm">(</span></span><span class="body-copy-sm">Taylor, Barbara Brown.&nbsp;<em>Speaking of Sin.</em>&nbsp;Cowley Publications, 2000, p. 90.)</span></p><p><span class="body-copy">&quot;The saved sinner is prostrate in adoration, lost in wonder and praise. He knows repentance is not what we do in order to earn forgiveness; it is what we do because we have been forgiven. It serves as an expression of gratitude rather than an effort to earn forgiveness. Thus the sequence of forgiveness and then repentance, rather than repentance and then forgiveness, is crucial for understanding the gospel of grace.&quot; <span class="body-copy-sm">(Manning, Brennan.&nbsp;<em>The Ragamuffin Gospel</em>.&nbsp;Doubleday, 2008, p. 45.)</span></span></p>