Most have heard that repentance is a ‘180-degree turn from sin towards God.’ This is a true statement, but it rolls so simply off of the tongue that we do not see the force of it. We all tend to do a 90-degree repentance; we will be convicted of sin and will dig down deep into ourselves with the intention of putting a halt to that sin. We will turn away from the sin towards ourselves for the strength to overcome the sin. We find the strength within ourselves to resist sin for a short while, but then somehow over the course of time we find ourselves back into the same sin, and usually worse off than we were in the first place. That is not repentance. If your repentance is based on your own personal attempts at piety then my friend you are unrepentant. Your efforts at repentance are proof that you are rebellious against God in that you believe you can overcome sin by your own strength. If you believe that then you are saying that Christ did not die for you, because you do not need Him. Sound harsh? It should, you see God has given us delivery from sin and death through Christ, if you are trying to deliver yourself then you deny the gift.
So the first thing we established is that repentance is a 180-degree turn. I have not quoted scripture because the word repent itself holds this meaning without any context need.
The second thing we must realize about repentance is that it is a gift. We miss this too often! Repentance is given by God, not worked out on our own. If we can grasp this we will truly begin to understand what repentance is. The following verses show that repentance is given from God.
Acts 11:18 “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”
2 Timothy 2:25 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;”
If we fail to recognize repentance as a gift from God that is to be sought after we will fail in every case to repent. Repentance is a purely human work if it is not given from God. If repentance is our work then we are enemies of God because we claim a righteousness of our own, and deny the need for a righteous savior. We also will fail to see the immense love that our Lord has for us. When we attempt to overcome sin on our own and fail over and over again we begin to doubt in the power of our Lord, yet when God gives you repentance unto life then His immense love becomes so evident.
Finally repentance is a turning away from yourself. I tried in this post to make it very clear that repentance is not a work that you muster up the will power to do. Repentance is very much the opposite of that, it is a complete turning away from yourself and your abilities and relying entirely on Him. The biggest hindrance to your repentance is not the temptation to continue sinning, but the insistence the in you is the power to overcome sin.
Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
It is through the Spirit, not personal effort, that repentance occurs, and that the deeds of the body will be mortified.
I will summarize:
What is repentance?
1. A 180-degree turn from sin towards God.
2. A gift from God.
3. A turning away, or denial of self.
The next post will be on “How to Repent” will be more practical than this post, but going into that part of this series it is so important that we remember that repentance is a gift, it is turning away from self, and it is turning away from sin towards God.
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