At one time or another all of us pastors will use the word ‘repentance’ to those we teach. Yet we often never bother to follow up or actually define what real repentance is. So let me do that for you right now.
Peter, in the Book of Acts tells us, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
John the Baptist used to stand in the water and yell to the people on land, “Repent!”
I once heard a pastor say that the best sermon any pastor could ever give would go like this, “Repent. Thank you and I’ll see you next week.”
Yet if I asked you to define what repentance really means, more than likely you would tell me, “It means to be sorry for sinning.”
Well, you would be partially right. The Hebrew word for repent actually means “to physically walk in the opposite direction.” I want you to focus on the word ‘physically’ in this definition because to truly repent, you must take action.
In order to truly repent, first you must confess to God the sin you have committed. Yes thats confession, but confession is a part of repentance – the first part. What you are really doing here is saying to God, “God I did this thing and I totally agree with you that what I did was wrong and is a sin.”
Now you are half way done!!!!
To finish repentance, you must then physically turn away from the sin – go in the other direction and leave the sin behind you, after you have tried to make the sin right.
Here is an example of Biblical repentance that you can start putting into action in your own life.
Let’s say that you steal a car from a dealership (boy, you are brave!!) and you get away with it. As a Christian when you get the car home, the Holy Spirit immediately begins telling you, “You realize what you did was wrong and is a sin, right?” Take this voice very seriously as it is none other than the voice of God! God, in the person of the Holy Spirit is asking you if you agree with Him that stealing that car is a sin. Do you agree it is a sin?
Of course you do! So what do you do next? Well you get down on your knees and you begin to pray to God and you say, “God I agree with you that stealing the car from the dealership is a sin. I am sorry for that sin and I repent of the sin.”
Wonderful! But your not done. To finish the repentance, you must now take the car back to the dealership and deal with the consequences of what you did. Finally, you must do your absolute best to never steal another car again. If you do steal another car, then you negate the repentance for the original sin and pile on a new sin on top of that!!!
True repentance requires action. You not only are sorry for what you did, but you must do your best to make it right and then try your best to never do it again. Jesus certainly paid for all of our sins, but that does not free us from doing our part and repenting of the sins we do commit. It is agreeing with God that what we did was a sin and God requires that of us. It is the least we can do considering what Jesus gave for us – His very life.
Ok now you fully understand what repentance is. Will you do it? I hope so because now you have no excuse not to!!
Pastor Brad Komgenick