The word and teaching of repentance is one that has become lost in Christendom today. It presses hot buttons on some and others are unmoved by its meaning. By the vast majority it is a word that has been unexplored and has been buried and even forgotten. Why is this? How can repentance simply be stripped of its biblical rank? Because the enemy of our soul hates it for it is the foundation of our position in Christ! He, one like a cleaver honey bee keeper has methodically pumped out lulling smoke over Christendom and took away repentance. He highlighted the word grace, and made his own doctrine to replace the r – word. Then, he took the word sin and did some cleaver fluffing up and twisting so that in his doctrine (which is)- you do not have to worry about sin because Christ already died for it in that we will always sin – and salvation is no longer about us (whether we sin or not) for we have Christ’s righteousness now. To be preoccupied with our own sin, is to not believe in Christ’s ‘finished work’ for us. As I reflect on this very dangerous doctrine, I think of Jesus in how He speaks to the Church of the Laodiceans also known as the lukewarm church, when He says these words: ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked’— Rev 3:17. Can you not hear us today, in this doctrine of grace and no repentance saying just the same thing? It would be in words like this; ‘Oh yes, I am saved, Christ has done it all for me so I no longer have to do anything, good or bad I believe and receive His gift therefor I need of nothing!’ There is not desire for transformation that is in the sanctification process (included in the Salvation package). Instead there is an apathy and lethargy to being renewed in the Spirit. Romans 12:2. But in truth, if you read the letters Jesus had John write to the churches, the majority he commands for them to repent. What is repentance? Repentance is an action word, it requires a work to do. The confusion that has been sowed into Christ’s work of Salvation, in that if you believe that you must repent to attain salvation, you are depending upon works. The truth is that in the attaining of salvation there is the work of repentance that follows – as a result of the free gift of Salvation. This is where all the stumbling comes in – and why the church is sickly and without power and houses a changeless people. John the Baptist warned the Pharisees to ‘Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance’ Matt 3:8. To repent is to turn from sin – bottom line. If we are not a people who (daily) turn away from sin, we are just like the world which is enmity with God James 4:4. In other words, we are to no longer serve sin, but God. See Romans 8. We no longer live to pollute our bodies, minds and souls with the corruption of sin because Jesus broke the power it had on and in us, through His death and resurrection – and we now can turn away from its grip to serve Christ in His Kingdom by His Spirit. We cannot live in the power of His Spirit and at the same time continue in sin but instead, in the power of His Spirit we can live holy lives, to be a people set apart so He may have His perfect work in us. His Spirit gives us all we need, which is what we receive in the gift of Salvation – but we must work with Him to accomplish His purposes. Is any healthy relationship one sided? We would all agree to no it is not, then why would we think that the greatest relationship we have not be the same?
I believe that the reason so very many are not living victorious lives, who battle with mental, emotional issues, people and life in general is the result of not coming to grips with repentance and the reality of what it truly means. That they are trying to attain the ‘promised land’ while craving and desiring to live in Egypt. See the futility and struggle of the children of Israel in the book of Exodus.
Jesus spoke these words early in His ministry: ‘I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’ Luke 13:3. May we heed His words for us today. Amen