Repentance Is Not A Dirty Word
Does the word “repent” evoke a picture of an angry God pointing a condemning finger at you and threatening you with hell if you don’t stop sinning now? Unfortunately, what religion has done is to link this gift from God, the opportunity to repent, so much with sin, wrath, and judgment that when sinners hear the word it evokes a response of fear rather than joy and thanksgiving.
But repentance is actually a positive word and a gift of grace. It is actually God demonstrating His love and favor towards saints and sinners alike. It is an opportunity from God for sinners to receive Christ and be saved from wrath and for the saints to believe Christ and be empowered to live victoriously.
God actually sent Jesus to give us the gift of repentance.
“Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31
If repentance is a gift He offers us from the Father for our benefit, how do you think He presents it to us? In Mark 1:15 for example, do you think He was yelling at them, commanding them to stop sinning, while pointing an accusatory, condemning finger at them and threatening them with God’s wrath at the same time? Is this how God offers gifts to those He wants to save and bless? But this is how many Christians preach the “Gospel.”
No, the Bible actually says “the goodness of God leads you to repentance.” (Rom.2:4) And Jesus Himself said, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17)
Child of God, He does not position Himself behind you to push you with His wrath to repentance. He gets in front of you to lead you with His goodness to turn from your sins to God. When He calls you to repent, He is not yelling at you; He is pleading with you.
And He pleads with you in the Gospel by exalting Jesus and His finished work. He calls you to repentance by revealing His gift of righteousness that is available to the vilest sinner by grace through faith.
But I still have not defined repentance, have I? So let me do so now.The word simply means “to change your mind. To rethink your position on a subject.”
So when Jesus says to His Jewish audience in Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel,”” He was not yelling at them, or threatening them. He was lovingly telling them to change their minds and rethink their position about the kingdom and how to enter therein. Instead of continuing to believe the Kingdom was far away and they would have to earn their way in, which was impossible, He wanted them to now believe the Good News: the Kingdom was within reach and they could enter it now through faith in Him!
What about you? Do you need to rethink your views of God, of salvation, of sin, of righteousness? Of repentance? Then do so. Accept God’s gift of repentance today and ask the Holy Spirit to begin renewing your mind with the Word of Truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For you see, that’s God’s way to salvation, and that’s the way to victorious living!