Repentance By Lance Mosher The first recorded sermon that included Jesus’ death and resurrection is in the second chapter of Acts. When the crowd wa



By Lance Mosher

The first recorded sermon that included Jesus’ death and resurrection is in the second chapter of Acts. When the crowd was convicted of their sins, they asked the question, “[W]hat shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Since they clearly believed the gospel message, the first thing they were told to do is, “Repent” (Acts 2:38).

Acts 2:38: Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 17:30-31: Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

What does it mean to repent? Is it to pray? Is it to feel sorry? Though related, repentance is neither.

2 Corinthians 7:10: For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Feeling sorry for sin is what produces repentance. It is a true and deep sorrow, feeling sorry for every sin committed, since every sin gave Christ a reason to die.

Romans 5:8: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Repentance involves a deep desire for cleansing. If you want to understand the sorrow that leads to repentance better, I recommend you read David’s response to his own sin in Psalm 51.

When Paul is discussing his conversion to Christ with King Agrippa, we see a little bit more of how God defines repentance. Paul says that Christ sent him to the Gentiles “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in [Christ]” (Acts 26:18). Notice that he was to get them to turn from darkness to light, turn from Satan’s dominion to God. They were to “repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance” (Acts 26:20). Repentance is not a feeling; it’s an action after the feeling. It is a turning. It’s a change of ways. To repent, we must make the decision to cease the deeds of darkness and begin performing the deeds of light, based on our deep sorrow for our sins.

Repentance is so important, as quoted in Acts 2 above, when believing sinners wanted to be saved and have their sins forgiven, the first thing they were told to do was to repent. As Paul describes repentance in Romans 6, he describes it as dying to sin. Even after one is baptized into Christ, he or she has not repented for the last time, but must continue to do so as he or she falls into sin. After Simon, the former sorcerer and recently baptized disciple, tried to buy the Holy Spirit’s power with money, he was told to repent and pray.

Acts 8:20-22: But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.”

Evaluate your life right now. Have you been living for the Lord? How blessed the fellowship of the Lord and His people is!

1 John 1:5-10: This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

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Dig Deeper

What Is the "Fruit of Repentance"?

“When John the Baptist told the Jews that they must bring forth ‘fruit’ worthy of repentance, what did he mean by ‘fruit’ (Matthew 3:8)?” Click here to read the full article article by Wayne Jackson.

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