Repentance is both a "summons" to seek Him first and a "summery" of the Gospel's impact and "regeneration" upon us so we make a life change in Christ. The discipline aspect of repentance is the result and application (not the cause) of the fruit from our salvation and renewal that we do our part with and by our faith. We see this exhibited when we are remorseful for our sins and seek to turn around to God. It requires us to employ our faith and repent which means to embrace the liberation, empowerment, and abundance we have in Christ by completely and utterly turning away from our sin (as in our wrong desires and deeds), and then move toward His love and plan. We do this when we come to faith in Christ, but it does not just stop there; we have to be continually alert as to what sins that will detract us from His path!
Passages on Repentance: Ezekiel 18:30-32; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 6:16-18; 7:3-11; 26:3; Hosea 6:1;14:1-3; Matthew 3:1-2; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 3:19; 8:22-23; 20:176-21; Romans 2:4; 3:9-4:8; 2 Corinthians 7:8-12; James 4: 7-10; 1 John 1:9; Revelation 2:5, 16; 3:2-3, 19-20.
What happens when we do not repent? We are choosing not to serve the Lord. This will significantly cost us in the loss of abiding peace and a life without the abundance of Christ will result in a loss of His penetrating love and care. We will lose out on so much more too, such as hope and faith, and a life that produces goodness, fruit, and that impacts others positively. We will not even have access to God's governance and guidance so that when the tough times of life come our way, we will be alone, tossed about by the seas of life and stress with only our feeble pride to anchor us; and it will only serve to sink us. Our real repentance will show the manifestation and fruit of His ways. If not, something is very wrong.
"Repent and be saved?!" Repentance is the result of the acknowledgment of what Christ has done, and not the cause of Christ giving you grace. It is to under go a great change, a 280 degree turn, that changes our heart and mind. Such as turning from sin to Christ. Grace is the gift He gives by His choosing (Election). Most Christians misunderstand this and say, because I have repented and prayed a special prayer, I am saved. Maybe they are, maybe not, it is God who judges; however, this is cheap grace and is not found in Scripture (this was started by a evangelist named Finey in the late 19th century, who had good intentions but very bad theology).
Repentance is necessary for salvation, and will entail full confession, restitution, and the will to turn and not burn! Know that people do respond to evangelism with prayer, with repentance that is genuine. But remember it is not of us or our repentance or prayer; it is of Him.
God calls us to authentic repentance and empowers us to do so (Acts 5:31; Rom. 2:4; 2 Tim. 2:25-26). This means we lift up our will, and surrender it to His Lordship. He is our God and commander, the One who first loved and cared for us. Thus, we should desire to order our life to reflect His guidance when we first come to Him, and then desire to lead a life that glorifies Him. Then, when we do wrong, we will realize it from the law written on our hearts and revealed in His Word. We will feel remorse and guilt (2 Cor. 7:10-11)! Thus, we will turn to Him, and seek others to help us in doing so. The proof that this has worked, that our repentance is genuine, is that we will express sincere grief for our sins! Real, authentic repentance is also heartfelt and earnest; we will not just regret our past behaviors, but we will be alert in our future behaviors and relationships so that a moral and lifestyle change will result. If you feel this is overwhelming, or you do not have the time or "gifts," consider this: it is God's desire that we, as Christians, repent of our sins and come to His way-- first and continually! This call requires our diligent action as well as commitment so it is a "discipline," and so it will become a lifestyle.
Repentance is not just sorrow or regret for what we have done or even the desire to change our minds. Rather, it is the changing of all we are-our goals, aspirations, values, and behaviors-so that we turn a complete 180 degrees from the way we were (2 Cor. 7:9-10). Repentance is a life that really has been changed!
Real repentance will entail full, genuine confession, restitution, and the will to turn to Christ, not just as Savior, but also as Lord. This is not just a one-time deed, but also a lifestyle that places Christ first and foremost in our daily lives.
Additional Scriptures on Confession and Repentance: 2 Chronicles 7:14; 30:6-9; Psalm 34:14, 18; Isaiah 22:12; Jeremiah 7:3-8; Matthew 4:17; 6:33; 23:12; John 20:23; Acts 17:30; 20: 17-21; 24:14; Romans 2:4; 3:9-4:8; 2 Corinthians 7:8-12; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 2 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 4:19
© 1991, 2001, 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D., Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org/