“The Lord... is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Our God is an awesome God and one thing that makes Him so awesome is His longsuffering, His patience toward us. We are so weak, so fragile, so sinful yet He loves us so much that He never gives up on us. Contrary to what many may think He doesn’t want us, any of us, to burn in hell. He wants us to repent because without it there is no salvation from our sins. The problem is that many do not understand what that really means or maybe we just don’t want to think about it.
Repentance is a necessary part of coming to Christ and it is also a necessary part of living with Christ (Luke 13:3). Some have never truly become a Christian because they have never truly repented of their sins. When you became a Christian did you repent? Some Christians are not really living with Christ because they no longer are truly repenting of their sins. The last time you sinned did you repent?
Some of you may be saying to yourself, “Yes, I repented.” Maybe you did but I am afraid that too many of us do not really know what it means to repent and too many times we just don’t think about it the way we should. So, let’s ask...
How Do I Repent? What is involved in it? How can I know that I have truly repented? What does it really mean to repent?
You must be honest about your sin (1 John 1:5-10). You can’t repent of sin if you won’t admit you have sin. That’s so hard for us to do. It takes humility. Even when we get caught red handed, we don’t want to fess up to it. Our pride seeks to run away from it, cover it up or blame somebody else (cf. Gen. 3). We must come clean and take responsibility for our actions.
John says we are just lying to ourselves if we say we have no sin. We know it isn’t true. There is not a one of us that is without sin. If you truly want God’s forgiveness, you must quit living a lie and be honest about your sin.
You must experience godly sorrow for your sin (2 Corinthians 7:9-11). You cannot repent unless you grieve over sin in a godly manner. Some go on sinning with no sorrow until they get caught and something bad happens to them. They are never sorry for what they have done only that they have to suffer for it. This is not godly sorrow but the sorrow of the world.
One who sorrows with a godly sorrow sees sin as a violation against God Himself. He is truly sorry for having displeased God. Such a one is sorry for the ruin and destruction he has wrought in this world and upon his relationship with God (cf. Psa. 51:3-4, 17; Isa. 57:15; Jam. 4:9-10).
Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss but when he saw that Jesus was going to be crucified, he was remorseful. He returned the money he was paid for the betrayal hoping to stop the whole thing, but it was too late. So, he “went and hanged himself” (Mat. 27:5). Judas was sorry that things didn’t turn out the way he wanted for himself, so he decided to just end it all and take his own life. That is the sorrow of the world that produces death.
Peter “went out and wept bitterly” (Mat. 26:75). In his weakness he denied Christ three times. He knew he was weak, wrong, and had hurt the Lord. He hated himself for what he had done. He was devastated because of his sin. That is godly sorrow that produces repentance leading to salvation.
You must decide to turn from your sin (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:21-24). The word translated “repent” in the Bible literally means “to think differently”. It is a change of mind. It is a reversal of thought (cf. Mat. 21:28-30).
One who repents has a whole different outlook on sin than he had before. Now he knows he is a sinner, is truly sorry for his sinfulness and makes the decision in his heart to turn from sin to live for God (Acts 2:38; 3:19).
As a Christian he must continue to keep that commitment to sin no more and to be obedient in all things. If he ever gives up that decision, he must renew his commitment in order to be forgiven lest he perish in his sin (Acts 8:21-24).
Will You Repent? “The Lord... is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
God wants you to repent and save your soul, but He will not force you to repent. He has warned us of the eternal consequences of tormenting punishment that awaits those who refuse to repent, and He has demonstrated His unconditional love for us by sending His Son to offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins upon the cross to that we could be forgiven and live with Him forever. Like the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus, one repented and the other refused, so each one of you must make your own decision to repent or not. Will you repent?
Northwest church of christ
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