Repentance is a doctrine that some preachers dread to preach on, and some do not wish to hear about. However, repentance is a very important doctrine of the Bible and is essential for salvation, without such no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Holiness and repentance go together, you cannot be a Christian who is zealous for holiness without repentance and a confession of personal sin. Peter in his first letter tells us to be holy (1 Peter 1:16). With this truth in mind I say we need to hear more on repentance, not less.There are three groups of people regarding repentance.
1. Reject repentance and later regret it.
2. External repentance, whereby people praise God with their lips, but not the heart.
3. True repentance from the heart, whereby we give God our all (heart, mind and soul).
The first group of people are those who reject the Gospel and have their dwelling in the bottomless pit of eternal judgement. These people are not hard to find they are everywhere. The second group are those who present themselves as genuine Christian people outwardly, but inwardly are full of hypocrisy and lies. They use religion as a cover for their wickedness and sinful lifestyles. They look religious and act religious. These people are in grave danger of playing true faith. These people are not always easy to find. Many of them hold high office in the professing church, while others may hold position of public office in secular society or church life. Remember it was the Roman Catholic Church that hunted down and subjected Christian people to persecution. The third group of people are the true church of Jesus Christ. These people are born again Christians who love the Lord Jesus Christ and seek to live in accordance with His truth revealed in the Holy Bible. They are men and women who have given God their hearts, minds, souls, their all.Therefore, it is very important we understand what repentance is.
The teaching in Scripture is not about turning over a new leaf or changing the way we act. Repentance in Holy Writ is a God given gift that changes our hearts. The soul that has obtained this priceless gift seeks to reject sin, hates sin, and seeks to draw closer to God daily. Repentance does not mean the Christian is perfect in all his ways, it does mean that the Christian is no longer controlled by sin, no longer desires to sin, and no longer seeks to follow the path of sinful passions, pride nor desires to fulfil their own wants.If we have a false view of repentance, we create a god of our own choosing and thus fashion an idol in our mind. We create a god that is pleased to bless sin loving sinners. We create a god that is not holy, righteous and just. We create a god that does not see a problem with sin. Idols twist and pollute our mind in such a way that we reach the conclusion that we cannot live differently nor honour the true living God. If the reader takes only one thing from this paper it is this. When this vain world shall be no more, and your soul stands in judgement will that day be one of great joy or awful dread. The sinful soul desires independence, but the forgiven soul is one of dependence on Christ.
Escape that condemnation
O’ flee from damnation
Come to Christ for salvation
Then to God sing adoration