Treasures New and Old
Elkmont Baptist Church
What is repentance and don't I only have to do that once - when I get saved?
Wow - I wish it were true. There is a belief out there that once I am saved - I don't sin anymore. While positionally - I am counted as sinless before God and my sins (past, present, and future) are paid in full - I still need to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12c).
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation.
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
Repentance is found both in the Old and New Testament - but we will concentrate on the New Testament word. It can first be found early in Matthew. Matthew 3:1-2: "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The word is
: ". . . to think
, that is,
(Strong's G3340). Another way to put it is to consider another course - to go a different way. In order to do that you must forsake the old way. Repent can be kind of neutral as I repented of my decision to paint the room black (yuck!). We are most familiar with it as describing the act of turning from our sins. Repent implies a clear and decisive decision to NOT GO BACK from whence we came.
Repentance is absolutely key to keeping a clear account with God. Let me give you two interesting examples. Why did Esau find no place of repentance for simply selling his birthright while David found repentance for adultery and murder - which surely must be far worse?
First, let's answer the question of why Esau failed to find repentance for simply selling his birthright even though he sought it desperately with tears. Esau's repentance was faulty because he did not understand true repentance. He was a profane fornicator, and he simply wanted to regain the blessings that he had lost. To put it simply, he did not "consider" his decision wrong and made no decision that would ever have him change course and never do it again. He was sorry for his loss - but not his action. You could say that he was sorry he did a stupid thing and got caught. But faced with the same situation he would do it again.
David committed much greater sins; however, he repented for the right reason and in the right way. He realized that the greater loss was his broken fellowship with God, and that as bad as his acts were with people (he had someone killed!) - his greater offense was toward God. He wanted to restore fellowship with God. If we repent for any other reason than this, we are not experiencing true repentance. David made a decision NOT TO GO THERE AGAIN, and more importantly, to strive to keep in right relationship with God. This frees us to get deeper and deeper into God's Word and walk closer and closer with Him.
Now consider the rewards of true repentance in the lives of your family. They have reason to be grateful and joyful, because, as you cleanse your heart and mind with the Word of God, a supernatural work also takes place in them. Peter speaks of this when he tells husbands to cleanse their wives with the washing of the Word (see Ephesians 5:25-33). This does not mean to get your wife to read the Bible or even to read it to her. It means to cleanse your own heart and soul by engrafting the pure Word of God into it. Jesus affirms this meaning when He prayed in John 17:19: "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." If Jesus sanctified Himself through the truth for our sakes, how much more should we do it for those who are under our spiritual care? As we are cleansed by the Word, we are more able to help cleanse those around us - especially those under our authority (Dads and Moms!!!). The fact is that children reap the benefits of their father's successes, but they also experience the consequences of his defeats.
Consider Eli who did not repent or change his gluttonous ways. His sons did more profane things, and the whole family was cursed. They all died, and a baby in the womb died - all due to lack of repentance. Again - consider 1 John 1:9-10: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us
sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not us."
So believer - when do we need to repent, "to think differently and take another course"? Whenever we sin and God points it out to us. How can I learn to think differently? We have been saturated with the world's thinking, and it is really very hard to think differently and repent of things that in many cases seem innocent or at least neutral.
Is repentance needed in a Christian's life after salvation?
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling
It is important to practice repentance. It is not some difficult, highly emotional, only once in a while thing for a Christian to do. We all have this tendency to think of repentance as somehow tied to walking down the aisle in tears and forsaking some great sin (which it is by the way - but also much more . . . ).
Do you have areas in your Christian walk that you need to "change your mind" about? When you do so, are you willing to "change course" and not go back there?
Christians are called over their lifetime to a greater and closer walk with God. This means that as we walk with Him, He will (when the time is right) show us areas that need to change. Remember - God does not change (Malachi 3:6a: "For I
LORD, I change not;"). We are always in the process of being changed IF we are walking with God. Romans 8:29 says, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate
conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn
among many brethren." How about this verse: Romans 12:2: "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what
that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Repentance is a vital step in the process of "renewing our minds" and taking on the mind of Christ." Remember what it means: to think differently about a thing - so much so that you abandon your present course and never go back there. So believer, when do we need to repent, "to think differently and take another course?" Whenever we sin and God points it out to us. We always associate repentance as leaving something (negative), but it also includes going towards something (positive) as well. To just leave something is to create a void - dangerous in the spiritual realm. Sometimes repentance means leaving something "good" for something that is much better.
When we make proper decisions and decide to "go another way", it includes adding to our life God's way (and God's way of thinking) about what we are or were doing. For example, God may prompt me to make a stronger commitment to read and study His Word. I may have always thought that Bible study in church was good enough, but now God has convinced me that I need to daily spend time in His Word. I repent of my occasional Bible studies (I change my mind) and start to read/study His Word daily. Please note - this is no casual decision! When I repent, I don't go back there. I make a commitment to do things differently. By taking on the mind of Christ, I totally change the way I used to think about something and now wish to think as God thinks about the same thing.
We repent of things every day in the simplest of things - clothing to wear, food to eat, routes to take, words we might say (but don't after we think better of it!), and so on. Why is it in the Christian walk that repentance is so hard? Why do we always say we are going to do something (like pray daily), and we never seem to be able to do it? The answer is simple. We never really repented of that behavior. We did not really change our mind and our course. We considered it. We gave it some mental value ("Yea, I really ought to do more of that . . ."), but we didn't make a firm and determined non-revocable decision. We need to cry out to God and ask for His help to truly repent and change!
"Repent - for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." You are a child of the King - when will we start THINKING like one?
): - repent"
May God bless you all!