Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease doing evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
(Isaiah 1: 16-18)
Repentance is one of the fundamental building blocks of Christianity, and this explains why millions of sermons are being titled all across the globe after Repentance. Repentance is from the Greek word “metanoia,” which means “to change one’s mind.” It entails a sincere turning away in mind and heart from self to God in all simplicity. It is a deliberate change of mind that results in an action, and it brings about a radical transformation that stems from a decision to change. A person who truly repents recognizes that God the Father is the most important factor in their existence.
Repentance is more than acknowledging your wrong or being remorseful; and it includes a total change of orientation from the past and a deliberate redirection for the future. Some persons can repent because they are afraid of God’s judgment, while others repent because they realize how much their poor behaviors hurt Jesus. In either case, Repentance demands genuine, heartfelt remorse followed by a decision in the right direction. It is a spiritual discipline that we must engage in to grow spiritually.
Repentance And The New Testament Believer
Repentance has been in God’s relationship with his people since the time of the old testament. Israel was notorious for disobedience at the time, and whenever they went too far down the road of disobedience, we always see God correct them through his prophets, and they end up turning back to the ways of God. After they return to God, he forgives them and pardons their iniquities. The Bible shows us these scenarios to learn the relevance of Repentance in our present-day walk with God on countless occasions.
Even when Jesus was to begin his earthly ministry, his forerunner John did a great job pointing the people to the paths of Repentance. John was described as; “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.” His message was Repentance, as we see in Matthew 3:2 “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” So there is a place for Repentance even for the new testament believer. The differences between the old and new Testaments then lie that the new testament believer can now have a living relationship with God after a repentant heart.
Repentance and Salvation
Repentance is an important part of salvation, Repentance precedes salvation, and through genuine Repentance, salvation will be possible. Salvation comes from faith in the finished works of Jesus, and this is why before someone can become a child of God, he first have to see the need to abandon his sinful ways and come to the cross of Jesus with arms opened wide. The holy spirit convicts the mind of sinners and causes them to lean toward God; he births the desire for Repentance and takes control of the entire process. In the book of Ephesians, we learn that we have been saved by grace through faith and not by ourselves; salvation is the gift of God, not works.
So to have the true salvation experience, every individual must see their wrong and decide to turn from it. Jesus’ story of the prodigal son teaches us how salvation is tied to Repentance; after squandering his property, the son comes to his senses and returns to his father. He realized that his father could forgive him for his foolishness and restore him to his real state.
Components Of Repentance
What exactly is Repentance about? Is it just about being sorry for your wrong? Is it just about making a u-turn? Repentance includes all these, but we shall closely examine some characteristics of Repentance.
- A realization of wrong
One of the hallmarks of Repentance is conviction. This conviction refers to coming to the point of feeling sorry for your wrong. You do not have to be coerced into thinking you are wrong, and you need to come to this realization by yourself. Just as it was with King David after Prophet Nathan broke the news of the wrong to him, we must come to admit when we are wrong.
- Confessions of wrong
After realizing that you are wrong, you must go on to confess your wrongs. This is a way of admitting you are wrong. When you can openly admit you’re wrong by confessing it, you are making progress on the journey of Repentance. In Psalm 51, we see David confessing his wrong with humility. “For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight—that You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.
- Decision To Make Things Better.
After coming to terms with your wrongs and confessing your wrongs, you must decide to become better. It would help if you decided to move in the best direction for your life.
How To Repent And Become Saved?
Since we have looked at what Repentance entails and how Repentance is linked to salvation, we can now say that you can be saved by realizing your wrong, confessing your wrong, and deciding to forsake your wrongdoings. Salvation is obtained whenever a sinner acknowledges his wrong, confesses his wrong and accepts Jesus’ lordship.
After receiving salvation, a born-again Christain must endeavor to walk in his new life as God’s spirit enables him. Repentance is incomplete without a new vigor and conscious decision to abandon the old for the new that is available in Christ.