The Christendom of the present day has grown in both number and denomination, but there is a shortage in the growth of true and sincere worshippers. Many people are ardent church goers, but they still live and wallow in sin, that is why the issue of repentance is critical.
The message of repentance has grown old to many, as many denominations no longer see it fit to preach repentance to their congregation as it tends to either offend some persons, who in return might chose to stop coming to church. But for the sake of making heaven, we cannot stop but carry on in the propagation and preaching of repentance and most importantly true repentance.
Table Of Contents
What Is Repentance?
Before we can dig deep, let’s look at the meaning of repentance and what the bible has to say about true repentance as it will be the basis of our discussion in this writeup.
The word repentance is been derived from repent, and repent is to be very sorry for something bad one have done in the past and wish that he/she will never do it again, while repentance is the fact of showing that you are very sorry for something bad you have done in the past, and wish that you had not done it.
Repentance is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs, which is accompanied by commitment to change for the better. Today, it is generally seen as involving a commitment to personal change and the resolve to live a more responsible and humane life. In other words, being sorry for one’s misdeeds.
But it can also involve sorrow over a specific sin or series of sins that an individual feels he or she has committed. The practice of repentance plays an important role in Christianity, in which it is often considered necessary for the attainment of salvation.
From the dictionary meaning above, we can see that repentance is a feeling of regret for past wrong and a commitment never to do such evil deed again, from the aforementioned two steps towards true repentance were mentioned and they include;
True Repentance Is
1. Feeling of regret
2. Commitment never to do that sinful deed again
Let me specifically let us know this fact, that we cannot read the Bible and miss our need to turn from evil. John the Baptist and Jesus both call the people of God to repent (Mark 1:4, 14–15). Peter and the other apostles always implore their hearers to leave their sin and trust in Christ after speaking the good news (Acts 2:38).
The apostolic writings found in the New Testament repeatedly implore us to repent (for example, 1 John 1:8–9).
Unfortunately, this accent on repentance is often missed today.
Many who have professed belief at an “altar call” or have said the “sinner’s prayer” consider themselves Christians even if there has been no change in their lives. In our drive to make the Gospel palatable to non-believers, we sometimes promise all the benefits of heaven without demanding repentance.
Thus we have celebrities who “love Jesus” while reveling in immodesty and immorality, and many others who think themselves to be saved even though they never darken the door of a church or love their neighbors.
This is damnable error, for the passages we have already cited argue that there is no faith without repentance. Christ reiterates this point in Matthew 7:21–23. If we confess faith and yet fail to do the Father’s will, which includes that we repent, we have not possessed faith and will be considered lawless by the final judge, Jesus.
Metanoia is the Greek word behind “repentance,” which originally meant a “change of mind.” However, while biblical repentance includes changing our mind about the identity of Christ and acknowledging Him as Savior, it is also much more.
To repent means that our lives are turned for good and our old ways are forsaken. We have fled from sin only if the world ceases to be the standard for our behavior and we yearn to follow Jesus in all things.
Don’t Mistake Repentance For Just Feeling
Repentance can’t be said to be achieved if it will just end as a feeling, as most Christians do today. They tend to joke and gamble with the issue of repentance. But for repentance to be complete, the genuine feeling of guilt will take hold of one’s consciousness and then the big step which involves commitment never to sin again.
Scriptural Passages For Repentance
We will study a scriptural passage that will broaden our understanding of what repentance stands for and what true repentance represents.
Act 2:37 When the crowd that had gathered heard this, they were pierced to the heart. They asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
Act 2:38 Peter answered them, “Every one of you must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift. (ISV)
When some read these verses, they may say that faith is not even mentioned. All that is mentioned is to repent, to be baptized upon the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and to receive the promised Spirit. Faith is not mentioned at all; instead, only repentance is mentioned.
But this was not what was spoken prior to this. The apostle did not begin with repentance, baptism, forgiveness of sins, and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. This was not the day of Pentecost. It was not the first word that Peter preached. It was the last word Peter spoke after he gave his message.
Prior to this, Peter had said, “Act 2:22 “Fellow Israelis, listen to these words: Jesus from Nazareth was a man authenticated to you by God through miracles, wonders, and signs that God performed through him among you, as you yourselves know.
Act 2:23 After he was arrested according to the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified this very man and killed him by the hands of lawless men. (ISV).
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Peter was saying, “This is our testimony. God has even exalted Him to the heavens and has made Him Lord and Christ. This is the testimony of the Holy Spirit. God has sent us, the apostles, to testify to the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The Holy Spirit has been poured out, giving the one hundred and twenty the gift of tongues.
This is the testimony of the Holy Spirit, testifying that the Lord Jesus has been glorified.”
There are two testimonies here
The apostles testify of resurrection, while the Holy Spirit testifies of glorification. The apostle Peter preached to them the word of God and showed them what they had done to the Lord Jesus and what God had done to Him. Verse 36 says, “ct 2:36 “Therefore, let all the people of Israel understand beyond a doubt that God made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!”
.” The word of God had been preached, and the apostles had shown them what God had done and what they had done.
Please remember that slightly more than a month before Pentecost, the same group of people were shouting, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!” (John 19:15).
They were instrumental in His murder and crucifixion. Formerly, they considered the Lord Jesus as worthy of death; they shouted to crucify Him and to release Barabbas instead (Luke 23:18). What had happened? Acts 2:37 says, “When they heard this, they were pierced in their heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, what should we do, brothers?”
This is to believe in the word of God, but it started with the feeling and the conviction that emanates from a contrite heart of guilt and wrong doing, this is the kind of heart that can access God’s mercy towards repentance.
Problem Of The Church
It starts from the heart, and it then transcends to one acting it, but the problem with the present church is the fact that we’ve made repentance a thing of feeling, and as feelings can be manipulated we then think that we can manipulate the issues of repentance. (Gal 6:7).
We ought to know that God cannot be deceived by our mere manipulation our feeling, some have grown in sin that they no longer have the conviction or even feelings of wrong doing, when they sin, that is why we take the issue of repentance as though it was a thing without essence or importance.
When alter call is called, we tend to see same set of people coming out to receive Jesus, but after that moment, that same set of people find themselves wallowing in same sin. The word of God was preached, and they received it. They realized that what God had done to the Lord Jesus was very different from what men had done to Him, they just can’t stand the fact that they are guilty of the sins laid at them.
Moreover, the Holy Spirit was also there testifying. They could not refuse that testimony. Hence, they spoke this pleading word, asking what they should do now that they had crucified the Lord Jesus. If they had not crucified the Lord, there would still be the chance of restitution.
But once the Lord Jesus was crucified, what should they do? They accepted the apostle’s testimony. As a result, the apostle told them that they had to repent. They had to repent because of their concepts and view concerning the Lord Jesus. In addition, they had to be baptized upon the name of Jesus Christ.
To be baptized is to receive Him, to believe in Him, and to confess Him. The meaning of being in the Lord’s name is to believe in the Lord. When they do this, their sins will be forgiven, and they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.