I have a question for you. If your child broke a rule—let’s say he tells a lie—and later came to you and apologized, you would forgive him, yes? What if he continued to lie with what appeared to be no intention to change, but continued to ask for and expect to receive your forgiveness?
At what point would you demand a change in behavior? Would your relationship with your child be thriving or would it be in a constant state of repair? Would it be a healthy relationship?
What is True Repentance?
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…(Acts 3:19-20)
The Greek word “metanoeo” used in this Scripture for the word “repent” means: to change the mind for better morally; to change the attitude toward sin.
You know as well as I do that in order to permanently change your behavior, you must change your thoughts because your thoughts always precede action. The ACT of repentance, therefore, is to turn your back on sin and no longer continue in it, but true Bible repentance begins with you changing your thoughts and attitude toward sin.
The New Testament speaks of forgiveness, but it does not teach forgiveness separate from the act of repentance (changing your attitude and ultimately your behavior toward sin).
This “gospel” that churches preach in America where we can just live any way we want and God will save us is a load of garbage. God expects a change. If Christ’s work on the cross has freed us from sin and the work of the devil, then we should be FREE from it in every way—in our thoughts, actions, and words—to have pure motives to please God and hate sin (Proverbs 8:13).
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1)
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3)
Repent therefore, and turn again, so your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:19)
The Bible does say in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. HOWEVER, verse 6, just before verse 9, says these words:
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 John 1:6)
And then just a few sentences later, this is what 1 John 2:3-4 says:
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:3-4)
True Bible repentance is turning from sin, and putting our trust in Christ for salvation, and doing what He says.
Don’t Get it Backwards
So many people miss it because they say, “Oh, that’s all about works and not about what Jesus did.” They are the ones that have it backwards.
We don’t keep His commandments to BE SAVED. We keep His commandments BECAUSE we are saved. The way we live our lives is the true and real evidence that we have been born again.
If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (1 John 2:29)
Know God, No Sin
None of this is to condemn you! There is no condemnation to those that are in Christ (Romans 8:1)! However, if you don’t have knowledge of these things, then you will live your life with the same results as someone that doesn’t even have a relationship with God. You can be born again, and never truly understand who you are in Christ…and you will live a defeated life. It is your awareness of the relationship you have with God that makes a difference in how you live.
As I illustrated in the beginning of this article, if your relationship with God is in a constant state of maintenance where most of your time is spent asking Him to forgive you for the same repeated mistakes and sins, how would you evaluate the health of your relationship with God today? As a good Heavenly Father, do you think He is okay with you repeating the same mistakes and only asking for a clean slate without a change in your attitude or behavior toward it?
When Christ returns for His church, there will be MILLIONS of people that say, “Lord, Lord…” and He will say to them, “depart from me, you workers of iniquity. I never knew you.” (read Matthew 7:21)
Don’t be one of those people! Repent and turn from your sin! There is REAL freedom in Christ, I promise! Your sin doesn’t have ANY power over you! Christ gave you the ability to say NO to those things!! They are killing your relationship with God slowly one piece at a time.
My encouragement to you today is to not only seek forgiveness, but repentance and freedom from sin. Christ set you free from the slavery of sin. Don’t allow yourself to be a slave any longer to it. It is entirely up to you.