Being a Christian for more than 10 years, I returned to the topic of repentance again. I had to prepare a teaching for our youth group and found some insights for myself too. I think we should dive into this topic from time to time and remind ourselves of the great need for forgiveness of our sins.
Our God is forgiving God
What is repentance?
From the Greek translation, we see the meaning of the ‘repent’ word is ‘changing the thought’. In the Old Testament, we read in Isaiah 45: 22 ‘Look to Me and be saved’ and the same in Ezekiel 18:30 ‘Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions’. There are two words for the same notion in English: ‘look to Me’ and ‘repent’. What does it mean? Everyone who looks at the Cross has a desire to repent?! If to compare several translations of each verse, this is what we get
Isaiah 45: 22
- “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” KJV
- “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.” AMP
- “…Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.” KJV
- “Repent (change your way of thinking) and turn away from all your transgressions, so that sin may not become a stumbling block to you.” AMP
In the New Testament, we read about repentance when John the Baptist was preaching the wilderness (Mk. 1: 3-4, 15). Jesus himself asked people to repent and turn away from sin (Mt. 3:2, 4:17) and the Apostles after His resurrection did the same(Acts. 2:38, 3:19).
According to the studies, repentance consists of several parts:
- Inner feeling of the sinfulness;
- Being unable to solve the problem of sin by ourselves;
- The desire to turn away from the sin.
When a person has a heart open to the truth, God promises to change that person and give them a new heart and new soul:
“And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” Jeremiah 24:7
Insights on the repentance
#1 – It is cooperation between God and a man.
While discussing this topic during our youth meeting, we came upon a question: who initiates the process of repentance. Normally I would say a person should decide to turn away from sins and then God does His work with the heart. But how can anyone understand this longing desire for purity? It happens only because God is trying to find a way to our hearts. When anyone decides to follow Christ and turn away from sin, God revives the spirit of that person.
#2 – we not only admit the sin, we turn away from it
It is not just a prayer of confessions; God gives us the strength to turn away from sin completely.
#3 – we receive new life and strength to live it
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17