What is Repentance?
We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin. –CS Lewis
Repentance is a decision to turn away from sin.
Acts 26 18-20
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
God’s question for the sinner in Ezekiel 18:23- Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
Very often our emotions are involved in repentance, but it is not just an emotional event it is a decision that is made deep within.
In the book of Acts we find a commandment to repent.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Once we have repented and our minds are changed, life changes. We often find that the things we once thought of as good and pleasant become our enemy. Old friends, habits and thoughts make us feel dirty. The prodigal son is a great example of repentance! I imagine him as a very independent young man who thought his Father was old-school and no longer relevant. He decided to leave his Father’s house, because he just had to go see what he had been missing in a distant land. He had only known the safety of the boundaries that were set for him. Now he was finally free. He took his inheritance and broke free from what he thought of as bondage.
It was him, an inheritance and the open road. He left the entrance of his Fathers gates and fastened his eyes on the horizon. The animals could tell that this journey was not normal. They were not being moved to the next pasture of taller grass. This would be their final walk through. He glanced over his shoulder to see his Father standing with his shoulders squared and chin up as to say, “I believe in you.”
He was far enough away now that his thoughts were focused on what his plan. The next town was sure to have attractions and places that could satisfy his urge to experience the things that boundaries prevented him from tasting. Days became months. One thing led to another. He was selling parts of his inheritance on a daily basis to maintain his high standard of living. He now had friends that thought he was cool. They hung around to enjoy the benefits until they ran out. Soon he found himself with only one set of clothes and even they were torn and filthy. The places he once visited and ate so lavishly refused to allow him in their establishment.. his appearance changed. He no longer had the inheritance to exchange for the services he so desired. He couldn’t even buy food to eat so he made his way to a hog farm. He thought.. I will kill and eat. Upon his arrival he was so tired and hungry that he didn’t have the strength to slaughter them so he began to eat with them. At first the smell was a challenge to say the least, but he found a spot that wasn’t covered in pig waste yet.. That was short lived and his hunger for food seemed to dull the filth that he was surrounded by.
The next day as the sun was rising in the east he noticed something. Green pastures were filled with cattle. There was a heard of sheep on one hill. While his eyes followed along the hillside his sense of smell seemed to awaken to the mess he was in. He began to think about the times at his Father’s house that there was food for everyone. The smells, the music and warmth of a family members embrace and in an instant he said: I will arise and go to my Father’s house.
What a wonderful account of repentance and restoration!
Repentance is important because God insists that we realize that when sin entered into our life it severed our relationship with Him. Repentance is the where we begin the restoration process.
Repentance crumbles the barrier that separates man from God!
The Altar represents: Death; Blood; and Covenant.
The altar of repentance can be traced back to Israel’s brazen altar where sacrifices were offered to God. The blood of sacrificial animals provided a covering that hid their sins from a Holy God. On the other hand the blood of Jesus doesn’t just cover sin, but it cleanses us from sin. In fact you appear in the eyes of God as though you have never sinned. Your life is then turned over to a new Master. We die out to sin at the altar.
Paul said it like this in Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
In Galations 5:24 we read: And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Genesis 4:26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
On the Day of Pentecost visiting Jews inquired about a strange phenomena in an upper room. Peter replied by quoting Joel’s writing: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. -Acts 2:21 And now, why do you delay? Rise and be baptized, and by calling upon His name, wash away your sins. Acts 22:16 AMP
Things change when you call on the name of the Lord in FAITH! We must confess our sins to God. Confess means to put thoughts into words.With a determined mind tell God that you are sorry for your sins. Every single one of them. You can name them. Just be honest with God and say: I AM A SINNER!
1 John 1:9- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Jesus associated His shed blood with the New Covenant.
Matthew 26:28- For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. When Abraham believed what God had promised, the two entered into a Blood-Covenant relationship. By Faith Abraham was declared righteous or in right standing with God. Circumcision of the flesh was a sign of this relationship. Faith is an essential part of our Covenant relationship.
Galatians 3:9- So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Galatians 3:29- And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
John 12:26-If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
Restitution- You should do your best to make things right with others.
Luke 19:8- And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
Acts 24:16- And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.
Next is Baptism!
Baptism proclaims that we have entered into a covenant with Him. Peter told Cornelius’ household…
Acts 10:48- And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
Once you have killed the old man at the altar you need to bury him in the waters of baptism.
Mark 16:16- He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
It is my prayer that you will find repentance in your life.