“Repentance grows as faith grows. Do not make any mistake about it; repentance is not a thing of days and weeks, a temporary penance to be got over as fast as possible! No; it is the grace of a lifetime, like faith itself. God’s little children repent, and so do the young men and the fathers. Repentance is the inseparable companion of faith.” – Charles Spurgeon
What is repentance? The biblical meaning of the word repentance comes from the Hebrew word shuv (to turn back or return) and the Greek word metanoia (to change one’s mind). When both words are put together, biblical repentance can be understood as one changing their mind regarding their sin and turning from their sinful lifestyle so that they can return to God. Acts 3:19 states, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Salvation is impossible without repentance. To receive Jesus as your Savior, it is essential that you first must recognize your need for one. When one chooses to repent, they are recognizing that they are a sinner and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Without repentance, there is no conversion, there is no forgiveness of sins. However, I am not proposing that one could ever save themselves or that repentance is in some way a meritorious work. Rather, it is a response to the grace of God. Without God’s grace, the sinner would never change their mind or turn from sin. By the power of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the gospel message, God has made it possible for us to respond in faith. Additionally, faith and repentance should never be viewed in opposition to one another. Faith and repentance should be seen as two sides of the same coin. To turn from sin necessitates turning to God (i.e. faith). Charles Spurgeon referred to faith and repentance as inseparable companions or twin brothers. Meaning, whenever faith is present, repentance is present.
However, repentance is not just a single moment in time, rather it is a lifestyle. On this side of eternity, none of us will achieve moral perfection. Instead, repentance should be thought of as a continual process of sanctification. As we continue to mature and become more like Christ, sin will continue to regress. As believers in Christ, we must be keenly aware of our personal shortcomings and must repent of our sins daily to ensure that we continue to be faithful. There is no sin that we can hide or keep from God. Every sin must be relinquished to our Lord. Like faith, repentance requires our whole person: mind, body, soul, and will. Some have mistakenly come to think of repentance as simply feeling guilty about sin. Although genuine repentance does include remorse and sorrow, it must also include a change in action. Matthew 3:8 states, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.” True repentance can be easily observed. Good works follow the repentant. If sin continues to abound, repentance should be questioned.
Lastly, repentance is essential for revival. Though many pray for a spiritual revival in our communities, it will never come unless we first humble ourselves before the Lord and cultivate hearts of repentance.
Are there any sins in your life that you have not repented of? Repent today and be forgiven by our gracious Lord and Savior!