Isaiah 59:2 reveals that our iniquities have separated us from God, and our sins have hid His face from us. There is always a link between knowing God’s will and sincere repentance. Psalms 66:18 adds: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Repentance is not an outdated, irrelevant word; it’s a very relevant word from the heart of God. Jesus, as well as John the Baptist, both began their ministry by proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2; 4:17).

The evangelist, John R. Rice (1895-1980), once said, “There is no way you can please God, no way you can have the sweet communion with Him to get your prayers answered if you are in rebellion against the known will of God.” Rebellion is not God’s will for your life.

Whether the word for repentance is nocham in the Old Testament, or metanoeô in the New, biblical repentance involves turning from sin and turning to God. Acts 3:19 unapologetically confirms this: “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.”

Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change in action-brokenness, sorrow over sin, and humility are all marks of sincere repentance. But be clear on this: Self-improvement is not repentance. Many wrongly confuse tears with repentance. It’s possible to be sorry, but not repentant. A penitent person sees sin as God sees it and turns from it; they do not want to continue in hurtful or harmful behavior. They accept full responsibility for their actions. The danger comes when arrogance, and a hardness of heart, as we often see today, prevent us from turning to God.

Let’s be honest: Why do so many leave Sunday morning church services no different than when they arrived, or avoid church altogether? Often, it’s because they need to repent. No wonder Jesus said that many people draw near to Him with their words, but their hearts are far from Him (Matthew 15:8). A.W. Tozer states it well: “Millions of professed believers talk as if [Christ] were real and act as if He were not. And always our actual position is to be discovered by the way we act, not by the way we talk.”

In the New Testament, Jesus had harsh words for those who appeared to be religious, but inwardly, had not truly repented. Our actions, not our words, reveal the authenticity of our relationship with Christ. I don’t say this to promote a performance-based religion; I say it to encourage repentance. Repentance opens the line of communication between God and man. However, in order for Christianity to appear enticing and less intrusive to our postmodern culture, difficult truths, including repentance are minimized or avoided. But repentance is discussed throughout the entire Bible; how can anyone miss this? For example, Jesus compared those who did not repent with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. He said that it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment than for those who did not repent. (See Mark 6:7-12.) No guesswork here. By redefining repentance, people are easily deceived.

The good news of the gospel can only be appreciated, and properly understood, with the bad news as the backdrop. After all, how can we discuss God’s love, mercy, and grace without mentioning His justice, righteousness, and holiness? How can we discuss heaven, but not hell; a Savior, but not sin; a relationship, but not repentance? We can’t.

Take time now and ask God to help you remove those things that are hindering your relationship with Him. Repentance is essential in determining God’s will-don’t run from it, run to it!

~Shane Idleman

f it is true that a passionate obedience to Jesus Christ demonstrates whether you are truly broken over the vileness of your sins against Him and have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, examine yourself… Does your life resemble that of a genuine follower of the Lord Jesus Christ who humbly gave His own blood for you?

If it is true that we are known by our fruits … Does your profession hold true?

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