Repentance: Help to Fulfill the Hardest Command

Prayer

Repentance! Help to Fulfill the Hardest Command!

Repentance

Help to Fulfill the Hardest Command!

Many commands are found in the Word of God, and some of these are difficult to obey.  The command that we need to think about at this time is absolutely essential-if you wish to be with God in heaven eternally.  I refer to the neglected, compromised, and distorted command to repent!

God sent John the baptizer to call people to repent in light of the coming kingdom of God (Matthew 3:2).  Jesus commanded, “Repent and believe in the gospel!” (Mark 1:15).  When the Lord sent out his disciples, the record says that “they preached that men should repent” (Mark 6:12).  When Jesus gave His great and last commission, He declared that “repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations” (Luke 24:47).

On the day of Pentecost, Peter proclaimed, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38).  The apostle Paul spent his life “solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).  Paul warned the Athenian philosophers, “God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30).

What is repentance?  Why does God give repentance such priority in His written word?  Why is it utterly important?  Repent is from the Greek term metanoeo and denotes, “to change one’s mind or purpose” regarding sin.  The noun metanoia “involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God” (Expository Dictionary of the N.T.).  We must not overlook this!  God is absolutely holy.  This means that He is separate from all evil, sin, or unrighteousness (1 Peter 1:15-16).  No sin can be in the presence of this all-holy, righteous, sinless and pure God.  He can tolerate no sin at all–either now or in the future.  Because of sin, we are lost (Luke 1910), guilty (Romans 3:19), spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1), and separated from God (Colossians 1:21).

This is what makes sin so utterly disastrous to us!  Sin has ruined us–spiritually and every other way.  Because sin is so much against God our Creator, we must have a changed mind and heart regarding it.  Not only must we have a different attitude toward sin, we must actually renounce the sin and turn from that sin!  We must forsake all sin of which we are aware.  We must “turn” from our sinful ways (Acts 3:26).  We must forsake our sins and even our evil thoughts (Isaiah 55:7).  We must confess and forsake them to find the mercy of God extended to us (Proverbs 28:13).  If we cling to our sin, continue to practice them, and refuse to turn from them, they will eternally destroy us (Romans 2:4-5)!

Why is it so important for us to repent of our sins and turn to God?  The Bible says that if we fail to repent, we will perish (Luke 13:3; 2 Peter 3:9).  We will suffer the “righteous judgment” and “wrath” of God (Romans 2:5).  This is why John warned the people to “lee from the wrath of God” by repenting of their sins (Matthew 3:7-8).  On the other hand, if one is willing to sincerely and thoroughly repent, he will be forgiven (Luke 24:47), his sins will be wiped away (3:19), he will receive eternal life (Acts 11:18), and he will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).  This is why it is utterly vital for you to repent!

But repentance is not only a negative matter–turning from sin.  It is also positive in nature–you must turn to God!  This is why Paul could write, “You turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9).  We also must turn from the “idols” of sin that are part of our life, and we must turn to our God–to live a life with Him at the center!  Jesus Christ must be the very focus of our life!  Jesus died for us, to bear our sins in His own body when he hung on the cross (1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).  Further, Jesus the Son of God rose from the dead and is alive today!  He is Savior from sin—and He urges you to come to Him for complete forgiveness!

You may be wondering in your mind, “I understand how important it is for me to repent and have a change of view regarding life and God Himself.  But tell me exactly what sins I must repent of and forsake!”  Let’s notice a number of these sins.  Please take your Bible and look up the references as you note each one.  You must repent of the following:

·         Not loving God with all of your heart (Mark 12:29-30).

·         Not loving others as you love yourself (Mark 12:31).

·         Not seeking the things in heaven (Colossians 3:1).

·         Going your own way instead of God’s way (Isaiah 53:6).

·         Putting anything or anyone before God (Exodus 20:3).

·         Lying or telling an untruth (Colossians 3:9).

·         Having abusive speech and slander (Colossians 3:8).

·         Having bitterness and anger in your heart (Ephesians 4:31).

·         Allowing lust and impurity in your life (Romans 1:24).

·         Having envy and jealousy (Galatians 5:20-21).

·         Getting drunk (Galatians 5:21).

·         Having sex with one not your spouse (Galatians 5:19-21).

·         Committing adultery against your spouse (Mark 10:11-12).

·         Lusting for a person or immoral pictures (Matt. 5:27-28).

·         Practicing sorcery or witchcraft (Galatians 5:20-21).

·         Having covetousness or greed (Ephesians 5:3, 5).

·         Telling course and dirty jokes (Ephesians 5:4-6).

·         Stealing from another person or company (Ephesians 4:28).

·         Hating another person (1 John 3:15).

·         Murdering a baby in the womb (Revelation 21:8).

·         Being a coward in speaking of Jesus (Mark 8:38).

·         Not confessing Jesus before others (Matthew 10:32-33).

·         Failing to be a good employee (Colossians 3:22-25).

·         Talking too much (Proverbs 10:19).

·         Not respecting/submitting to your husband (Eph. 5:22-24).

·         Not loving and caring for your wife (Ephesians 5:25-33).

·         Not honoring and obeying your parents (Ephesians 6:1-3).

·         Being lazy and not being diligent (Romans 12:11).

·         Not using your time wisely (Ephesians 5:15-16).

·         Not treating your body responsibly (Romans 12:1).

·         Not giving money to the Lord’s work (Galatians 6:6).

·         Wasting money and resources (Luke 16:9-10, 13).

·         Loving yourself or having a selfish attitude (2 Timothy 3:2).

·         Loving money and possessions (2 Timothy 3:2).

·         Being prideful, boastful, conceited (2 Timothy 3:2-4).

·         Failing to be thankful to God (2 Timothy 3:2).

·         Not practicing self-control (1 Corinthians 9:27).

·         Not loving the Word of God (Psalm 119:97).

·         Not reading the Bible (Acts 17:11).

·         Not praying to God (Luke 18:1).

These are some of the sins that God wants to save you from as you repent of them, turn from them, and turn to God and His perfect way. Recently I was communicating with a man who adamantly holds to the view that one only needs to “believe” in Jesus and will thereby be saved eternally! I pointed out to him that one also needs to repent of sin–all sin (of which he is aware). Repentance is a sin matter. When people came to John to be immersed by him, they were coming to confess their sins (Matthew 3:6). Not just sin in general, but multiple sins. Although I know of no scripture that says that a person coming to Christ must verbally and audibly confess all of his sins, still repentance is a sin matter. (You may want to examine Revelation 9:20-21 and 16:9, 11).

When you repent, God expects you to change!  You can’t go on as usual.  The liar must begin to tell the truth (Ephesians 4:25).  The fornicator must begin to live in purity (Hebrews 13:4).  The angry man must begin to live in patience (Ephesians 31-32).  The cruel man must begin to practice kindness (Colossians 3:12).  Further, remember that you must make restitution.  This means that you must make amends for your past wrongs (Luke 19:8).  You should return stolen items.  You should ask forgiveness of your sins against others.  You should give up a woman who is not your wife.  You should pay back money you have received from sinful activity.  Let your life be entirely different (2 Cor. 5:17)!

God calls us to escape “the defilements of the world” and “the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Peter 2:20; 1:4).   This world is headed for destruction by fire, under God’s wrath, thus He calls us to repent while we still have the time and opportunity (2 Peter 3:9-14).  Escape from God’s judgment that will surely come (Matthew 3:7-8; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Romans 2:4-6).

Dear friend, God will help you!  He will help you to repent (2 Timothy 2:25).  As you repent, He will give you His Holy Spirit and with this divine help, He will help you to put to death the deeds of the body that you may have eternal life (Romans 8:13).  Come to Jesus today–by repenting of your sins, confessing Jesus as living Lord, and expressing your faith and repentance in the act of baptism (Acts 2:38-41; Romans 6:3-11; Colossians 2:11-13).  Now is the time for you to repent!

 Richard Hollerman

 

 

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