This is a word far too often used by those who have not fully understood its meaning (or even experienced its reality). The underlying reality of this word has escaped many of us because we have thought of it in degrees rather than as a simple, completed whole. What does this mean? It means we think we have more time to “get it right,” when the truth of the matter would frighten us. Repentance is not something to get better at over time. It is a pivot point in our lives.
The original intent of repentance has been described a change of mind. We are not talking about a curious thought crossing through our minds or something to just sit and mull over. When we encounter the truth of the Gospel of Jesus we have a choice to make. We can turn around or we can keep moving forward. Repentance is turning away from anything and everything not in line with God’s word and will. This is what God is expecting and calling us to. We must turn from sin, not with the indifference of an distasteful odor, but with the intentionality and seriousness of a death inducing threat.
Maybe this is the problem. We have lost our fear of sin and thereby lost our fear of God. As I write this I am moved by my tendency to minimize my sin because I know how marvelous God’s grace is. This may be what Paul meant when he said the following in Romans 6.
1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
What I have come to see is that repentance is not a one time choice. It is a constant act. One requiring the heart and mind to work toward holiness. What we have to see is that the only reason we do this is due to the work of the Holy Spirit of God as he moves us to such an act of obedience. As we move to closer Easter we must seek as clear an understanding as we can of what it means to be a citizen of God’s kingdom. My prayer is that you will join me on this journey.