Repentance

We have all sinned.

Paul rightly illuminates that everyone in the world has sinned. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23 KJV) We have all sinned. We all need the forgiveness of the Lord. This is undeniable. “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him.” (Daniel 9:9 ESV) We have rebelled, and yet God has given us the opportunity to obtain forgiveness through his Son. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7 ESV) “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:27-28 ESV)

How can I obtain this forgiveness?
The path to forgiveness begins with repentance. How can I be forgiven if I am blatantly unrepentant? Statements concerning the baptism of John clearly link the two concepts. “John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:4 ESV) “And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:3 ESV) This concept is continued in the writings of Paul. In Ephesians 5 Paul deals with the struggle of the Christian to demonstrate their repentance. He begins with an admonition: “be imitators of God.” In other words, Christians be Christ like. He continues the point by telling us, do not be like the world. “Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” Do not perform the works of your previous life, demonstrate your repentance by walking in the light as he is in the light.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. “ (Ephesians 5:1-21 ESV)

Bear fruit worthy of repentance.

John the Baptist also spoke on the subject of repentance. In Luke 3:4-14, John begins by telling the people that Judgment is coming, and everyone must repent. The crux of his teaching is given to us in verses eight and nine. “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Luke 3:8-9 ESV) This passage is rather sobering. John tells us that we must bear fruit worthy of repentance and if we fail to do so we will face eternal damnation. You claim to repent of your sins? Prove it, bear fruit worthy of repentance. If you are truly sorry for your sins you will change your life. If you are not truly sorry, you won’t change. This is why Paul tells us in Ephesians 5 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”
If walking in the light means that you are bearing fruit worthy of repentance, and because forgiveness can only be obtained through true repentance, doesn’t it follow that to go to heaven we must change our lives? The tax collector asked John; what must I do to bear fruit worthy of repentance? John responded: “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” (Luke 3:13) Tax collectors had the reputation of collecting more than was required. John’s instruction comes right in line with true repentance. That which you did in the past, which was wrong, do no more. As Paul put it: “Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light […]”
Simply put, if you want to go to heaven; bear fruit worthy of repentance.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 ESV)

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2 thoughts on “Repentance”

  1. WHAT IS THE SALVATION TIMELINE?

    How long does it take for a person to become saved? It takes as long as it takes to believe and be baptized in water.(Mark 16:16)

    On the Day of Pentecost they believed and were baptized in water the same day. (Acts 2:22-38)

    Cornelius, his relatives and close friends believed and were baptized in water the same day. (Acts 10:24-48)

    The Ethiopian eunuch believed and was baptized in water the same day.(Acts 8:26-38)

    Saul (the apostle Paul) believed and then was baptized in water three days later. (Acts 9:9 Acts 22:6-16)

    The Philippian jailer and his household believed and were baptized in water the same hour. (Acts 16:25-33)

    Salvation is an act of obedience. (John 3:16, Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9-10, Mark 16:16)

    Salvation is not keeping the Laws of Moses nor is it the performing of good deeds.

  2. Very good thoughts on repentance. The order that is used by Paul is interesting in the following two passages and it backs up your first statement in paragraph 2:

    Acts 20:20,21 “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Hebrews 6:1 ¶ Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

    “to think again” or have ‘second thoughts’ is a good way to think of repentance. It can be humbling since it is an admission that we were wrong, but it is so much better than continuing in wrong thinking. Progress, as C.S. Lewis said, is not what happens when you keep going the wrong way, no matter how far you go down that path. But it is ‘true progress’ to turn around when you realize you are going the wrong way – that is repentance.
    When we truly change our thinking, our lives really do change.

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