Brought to Life

What is repentance and why is it necessary in our personal lives and in our churches?

In Acts 2: 14 – 39 Peter preaches the gospel of the Kingdom of God to a crowd of many people. When they heard his words, they were cut to the heart and asked Peter and the disciples what they should do. Peter says this, “Repent and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”

In Matthew 3: 2 John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And in Luke 13: 3 and 5 the Lord Jesus, Himself, warns that unless we repent we will perish.

What is repentance? Some have described it as a heart change and some have likened it to a U-turn, a turning from the way we are going and a going in the opposite direction. One thing is certain – without the power of the risen Christ and the Spirit of a holy and righteous God we have no means to turn from our wicked ways. Jeremiah 17: 9 tells us in no uncertain terms that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

When Peter preached with the power of the Holy Spirit and people were cut to their hearts and they realised that they were in rebellion against God and had taken part in crucifying their Lord and Saviour. They realised that they were not in a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and were living independent of Him and governing their own lives. Their hearts were condemning them and convicting them and they asked of Peter and the disciples, “What shall we do?” They wanted to get right with God. That is the first step towards repentance! It is acknowledging the sinfulness of ourselves and seeking to be rightly related to Almighty God.

Turning from self

Secondly it is turning away from “self” to Him alone. It is the forsaking of sin and choosing to go God’s way and following Christ totally. It is the action of turning from independence to reliance upon the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the action part of a heart condition. It is a mind changing decision to turn from sin to a holy, righteous and just God.

Adam and Eve declared independence from God and rebelled when they succumbed to deception and ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and that rebellion separated them from God and they died in spirit. That has been the state of mankind ever since until we come to a state of repentance, by His grace, and be cut to the heart for our rebellion and self government that leads only to death.

In the Book of Revelation 2 the Lord tells the Church in Ephesus to repent and do as they first did as they have left their first love. Even the Church can get so wrapped up in doing good works and the programmes of man that we go away from our ‘First love’ the Lord Jesus Christ and we do not know Him and we do not have an intimate and deep relationship with Him. This is a serious problem with much of the church today. We need to repent and return to our first love even if it means giving up all our church activities.

Turning from unbelief

Repentance is a turning away from all unbelief and a turning to the One who died on the cross of Calvary for us. Repentance is recognising our rebellion in our hearts toward God and it is realising that self-governance and not God-governance is independence from God and will lead to spiritual death. Repentance, for the Church, is turning back to our ‘first Love’ and forsaking all else.

Repentance is a gift from God by His grace and through His Holy Spirit that works in a person’s life to bring that individual’s desire for Christ Jesus. It is the action of bring us from sin and rebellion to God. “Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!”

Post published in: Faith

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