One of the most beautiful, wonderful, and important words in Scripture and the Christian’s life is the word “repentance.” Scripture records that Jesus frequently spoke about the need for repentance (Mark 1:15; Luke 5:32, 13: 1-5).
The essence of the Greek word translated as “repentance” carries the idea of a change of heart, a change of mind, a change of attitude, and a change of direction. Sadly, many believers only understand the word in the context of coming to Christ for salvation (Acts 2:37,38). While that is indeed true, for there is no salvation apart from repentance, it is important to understand that repentance is an ongoing activity in the life of the believer. When we are exhorted to put off the old and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:9-10), that is another way of describing repentance. When the Bible says to yield our bodies unto God in Romans 6, that too describes repentance. When we read about mortifying the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13), that is also repentance.
God, Who is our wonderful Creator, knows what is best for us; thus He calls us to repent of our sin and rebellion, and turn to Him. Remember, sin is not bad because it is forbidden; sin is forbidden because it is bad. It robs, kills and destroys lives, families, and ministries. God knows that sin and rebellion against His holy law only bring a person into bondage and leaves one miserable and unfulfilled. Thus, the gospel message is one of repentance unto life (Acts 11:18, 20:20-21).
And what happens when we repent of our rebellion and sin? We experience the comfort of God, for those who mourn for their sin will be comforted (Matthew 5:4). Another fruit of repentance is a restoration of lost joy. There is no joy in sin. “Happy Hour” is a myth! When King David tried to cover up his adultery and murder, he was an emotional and mental basket case (Psalm 32). But when by God’s grace he confessed his sin and turned back to The Lord, his heart was cleansed and his joy was restored (Psalm 51).
Reader, have you experienced that initial repentance of sin and turned in faith to The Lord Jesus Christ? Fellow Christian, is your life marked by growth in grace that produces Christ-like character? May The Spirit of God open our hearts to see what a wonderful blessing this gift of repentance is (James 4: 6-10)!