If you only had seconds to communicate the gospel call, enough time for one short sentence, perhaps the most succinct would be, “Repent and believe the gospel”. To repent is not an offer from God to mankind, it is a command. Acts 17:30 tells us that God commands all people everywhere to repent. Few words carry such significance. As God redeems His people, He grants them repentance and opens their eyes to see the magnitude of their own sin (2Tim 2:25). A great change of mind happens when a sinner turns from the lusts of the world and gazes upon Christ with joy immeasurable. But the value of repentance goes far beyond conversion. To follow Christ on this earth is to live a repentant life. As the first in a series of blog posts intended to enrich our understanding of being a disciple of Christ, what better place to begin than with repentance.
Many are familiar with the Greek word for repentance, metanoia, meaning a change of mind, a turning from. A man sees his sin for the wicked act that it is, knows he deserves death and hell, then turns from it, towards Christ, and in love and gratitude follows Him. This helps us to understand the heart of repentance. So many claim to reject Jesus claiming that in order for them to become a Christian they would have to give up that which they love, the sins that give so much pleasure. The idea of repentance stinks in their nostrils, for why would anyone give up what they love? Herein lies their mistake. To repent does not mean you are to give up what you love. To repent means you die to the former things that you loved and then have a change of mind, a turning to a new and better love, the love of and for Christ.
As disciples of Jesus we need to see that when we sin, we are turning from Christ and to the world. We declare, like our first parents in the Garden of Eden, that God is not really good, that we know better, and then indulge the flesh. But for the believer, the child of God, the call of repentance is sweet to our ears, for the repentant life celebrates with tears a change of mind and a turning back to the good and the glorious that Jesus is! Our sin reverts us back to the delusion of our original state, that this world has more for us than our Great God. Repentance reminds us that we have died to sin and now live for Christ, to the praise of His glory.
Saints, let us be a repentant people. As disciples of Jesus who long to be more like Him, do not shrink back when faced with the need to repent, for it is a good and refreshing thing to do. Would you examine yourself, even now, and see if there be a need to repent? If sin is found, don’t wait! Cry out to the God who is faithful and just to forgive us our sins! We have an Advocate in Christ, One who can sympathize with our weakness and never ceases to intercede on our behalf. A disciple of Jesus Christ lives a repentant life.