Repentance is an essential sign of genuine saving faith. It is what is to be preached and what The Gospel Message compels true believers to do. It can be faked and is avoided by health, wealth, happiness, and prosperity teachers. There is a reason for this. But what is IT (repentance) and why is it an essential element of faith?
Biblical Definition of Repentance
“8 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. 9 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.”
Here we see Repentance enables us to bear good fruit.
Acts 3:19; 26:20
Repentance precedes the action and the action then accompanies the repentance.
We can know that repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of action. The action does not cause the repentance but the change of mind due to a change of heart leads to the change of action.
What are we ultimately called to Repent from?
In Acts 2:36-38 we see Peter call everyone to repent of their disbelief and to believe in the gospel message. They thought they were worshiping God, yet, they were not and needed to repent. Their god and idols was their own religions actions that they felt justified themselves and bought God’s forgiveness through their works. But first they needed to understand and believe in their minds that Jesus was Lord and Christ. That Jesus was God and Savior. This repentance is changing from rejecting Jesus as God and Savior to trusting him as God and Savior.
How we live our lives and what we value most reveals if we live repentant lives. Do you trust that Jesus is God who came to live and die for the sins you do? Do you trust that he lived the life you could not live and paid the debt you can not pay? Do you believe the gospel in such a way that it causes you to see God’s glory and Holiness so greatly that you fully see your sin and need for him in every way and in every aspect of life?
Repentance and Salvation
Repenting does NOT cause salvation. Repentance is caused FROM salvation. John 6:44 makes it clear that God first draws and leads us to experience his kindness and grace (Romans 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) which changes our hearts toward God. Then he grants us repentance (Acts 11:18) and gives it to us (Acts 5:31); for our minds to grasp allowing us to be able to change our minds, change our actions, and our lives for all eternity. This is part of the idea of God’s Irresistible Grace for all those who are given repentance.
The reason why this can be faked is people can change habits and change their mind about habits but because their hearts are not for the Lord, it is a limited mind change in scheme or time frame. Only God can change the hearts and grant true repentance. Despite popular belief, you can not work hard enough or do enough good to earn your salvation… ever. And the thought that you can, is what you are called to repent from! You can not will yourself from spiritual blindness and death to spiritual life. You are not God.
The Beauty of it all
The awesome thing about repentance is that God leads you to it, gives it to you, and keeps in it! God does all the work of it! He shows you when where how and why then keeps you! God leads and changes your heart that compels you to repent then the Holy Spirit leads us to bear good fruit and keep with repentance! All we do is get to enjoy God for all eternity.
It is portrayed by some teachers as something bad (positivism), mean (emotionalism), and unnecessary (easy-beliefism and Hyper-grace) . But the reality is that repentance allows us to grow spiritually! Allows us to continually shake off the sinful things of this world and continue to run the race of faith and kept from being bogged down and enslaved by sin. Of course it stings, that is our natural sinful reaction; but it has awesome and eternal benefits that far out weight the initial hurt feelings. Those who avoid the eternal beauty of repentance are enslaved by their feelings and emotions. They are unrepentant in their lack of trust in the work of Christ and rather depend on their emotions and feelings to define what they believe and influence their actions. Emotionalism, easy-beliefism, and positivism are repentance killers.
Why some teachers are too scared to teach it
Who naturally wants to repent of their self-righteousness and sinful desires? Why teach repentance when you are making money by teaching people to covet and seek their materialistic desires. When people think they are bigger than God; God has to do what they demand and give them the (sinful) desires of their heart. Why would anyone want to teach repentance and a change of mind when they can buy mansions, travel in personally owned private jet, buy thousand dollar suits, drive triple digest valued exotic cars, and receive the praises of millions of people; because of your own teaching? If you do not see a problem with that, than you may want to go feed the homeless and volunteer at a orphan shelter to check your heart and repent.
The desire to repent comes from a genuinely changed heart of whom God can only do. Until then, the heart is unchanged and desires sin. So then, when people ask for the desires of their heart it is either coming from a heart with a repented mindset or a unchanged heart with an unchanged mindset. People either beg God for mercy and are thankful for his grace or they beg God for a million dollars and are thankful for all their wealth that they keep for themselves.
“14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
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