And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.Mark 1:15
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.Revelation 3:19
Jesus calls all men everywhere to repent of their sins. To repent is to change ones mind or to reconsider his past life of sin. To repent is to switch from wickedness to holiness, from abomination to sanctification. Only God can work the work of repentance in a person. It is the Holy Spirit that convinces the world of sin, judgment and righteousness. God will lead the sinner to repentance, but He will not force the person to change his mind about sin. So then, repentance is a two fold work. God guiding the sinner by using logic and reason to persuade the sinner that he is wrong about his life of sin, and then the sinner agreeing with God and changing his mind and heart. It is a great cooperation between God and man, and God gets all the glory. Man is simply following where God is leading.
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.John 6:29
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.Philippians 2:13
Man was designed by God to repent when he is in the wrong. It is natural to repent. Man was made in God’s image with a mind and a heart and a conscience. All 3 work together in repentance, along with the persuading of God’s Holy Spirit to bring about the change of mind necessary to be saved. Repentance is changing the heart’s motive from selfishness to righteousness or love. We formerly walked the way of the devil, but then we repent, do a 180 and start walking God’s way, which is the way of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to call mankind to repentance. His life demonstrates how a Christian should walk after he repents.
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.Mark 2:17
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.2 Corinthians 7:10
By definition, only sinners need to repent. After we have repented of all our sins, there is nothing left to do but pick up our cross and follow Jesus. IF we sin again after our initial commitment to Christ, we simply repent of that single sin and are immediately rejoined to loving fellowship with Christ. God intends that we would learn to overcome temptation so that our need to repent would gradually become less and less. I know of some mature Christians that have gone years between sins. Sin should be a rarity in the Christian’s life. If and when it happens, by their choice to depart from Christ, it is then up to that person to repent again and keep repenting until his way of life matches that of Christ on a consistent basis. God is very merciful and long suffering with His people. If He was willing to forgive dozens of sins to have you enter the kingdom of Christ, He will surely be willing to forgive a single sin that you may commit. Hide the Word of God in your heart so that you will learn to overcome and to GO AND SIN NO MORE. It’s possible, but it takes the entire mind and heart to be focused on serving Christ.
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.2 Corinthians 10:6
Once we repent of our sins, it should be a burning in our hearts to NEVER SIN AGAIN. We should take vengeance on our past life of sin, by being zealous of GOOD WORKS. Jesus went about doing good in His life on earth. He went about healing the sick and raising the dead and casting out demons. We can do the same works, and greater works, because Christ has gone back to the Father in heaven and sent back the Holy Spirit to minister in the world, through the Church.
We must rule our spirits well in order to overcome sin and the devil and the world. It takes dedication of mind, not to slip back into old, sinful habits. We must learn to walk uprightly in body and spirit and mind and soul. Jesus said we should love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We were made to live righteously. Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. It is the way of the transgressor that is hard, because he is constantly fighting against his conscience, against the good he knows to do. Let’s all repent right now and live for Jesus from moment to moment, guarding our hearts from sin like we would guard a big pile of money from being stolen by our enemy.
Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.Luke 3:8
Once we stop sinning by repenting, we must then do righteousness. Some people try to stop sinning, but until they replace the sinful life with the righteous life, it will be impossible to overcome sin. Daniel said to break off our sins by righteousness. We must build up forward momentum of doing good in order to deflect the temptation to sin again. Our good works show that we have truly repented. Remember, Christ is going to judge us based on our works, and the heart behind those works. Repentance is more than just having good intentions. It produces sorrow that leads to true repentance, a true turning of the heart from sin to love. We can’t fake repentance. Just going to a church building on Sunday is not repentance. There are many hardened sinners that are in the habit of going to church. No, a true repentance brings a drastic transformation in our lives! If we want to prove our repentance, then do good works of love from the heart. This is the only way to eternal life.
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.Mark 16:20
After we have repented of our sins, it’s up to the church to call sinners to repentance. We can demonstrate their need to repent by how we live our lives. Our new lives are a testimony of Christ and the change He can do in anyone’s life. We are all called to be witnesses of Christ. Some are called to evangelize more aggressively. When I preach, I tell people to turn from their sin to Christ. This is what repentance is. The mind and heart and conscience must hear God’s Word to repent before a change can take place. As we preach, the Holy Spirit is working with us, convincing the people of their sin. How wonderful that we can co-labor with God for the salvation and repentance of mankind. We must be faithful to do our duty, to preach and speak the truth in love. We are extending God’s mercy and love to mankind on His behalf. He has given us the ministry of reconciliation. We’re crying for lost mankind to come home to Jesus! This is another reason to keep yourself pure. Mankind needs our witness! God needs our witness! A witness of victory over sin by the Word of God. Be faithful unto death and Christ will give you a crown of life. Repent today of anything keeping you from living a victorious life in Christ. Then go forth doing good and healing all that are oppressed of the devil, for God is with you, like He was with Christ! Amen.