In the last post I tried to make it clear that repentance was first of all a 180-degree turn from sin towards God. Secondly, repentance is a gift from God. And finally that repentance is ultimately a denial of self.
Repentance is a result of brokenness, we cannot repent until we are broken and see our intense need of repentance. We will never turn to God, unless God shows us our need of Him, and we will never see our need of Him as long as we are strong in ourselves. In other words the very first step towards repentance is recognizing that we are sinful, and that in our flesh dwells no good thing. It sounds pretty elementary, and it should. The problem is that even we who believe rarely are broken enough to see the enormity of our sinfulness, and thus repentance is hindered. The unbeliever will see their sin, yet they remain oblivious to how rebellious their sin is toward God.
2 Corinthians 7:9 “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.”
When we are brought to the point of repentance it is painful, because we must come to the sorrowful realization that we cannot stop sinning, but when repentance is granted the freedom given is amazing.
After we see our sinfulness, how can we be granted repentance? This is a serious point for the unbeliever who never has been granted repentance, and also for the believer who has not yet been granted repentance over a certain sin. If we have been convicted of sin, and our heart detests our sinfulness and we are broken before God, the next step is almost too simple. Ask! Seek! Knock! You must understand that if you have been brought to the point where you abhor your sin, and your heart desires deliverance that means that the Lord has begun a work in you already, and that repentance is just a step away! If you desire repentance you will receive it of God if you simply ask for it. If you are asking for it and you are not receiving it, then stay on those knees until you have received it. It could take all night crying out to God, it could be 2 minutes. Ask! Ask! Ask! Plead with God, if you truly desire to repent you will be more than willing to plead to Him with a teary eye and a trembling lip until sleep overcomes you. Then you will awake again and plead some more until you have been granted that precious repentance.
On a more solemn note, if you do not see your sinfulness, or you need for repentance then you are lost, and you have no source or reason to have any hope. You will eventually die unrepentant and unregenerate, unless a change occurs. If you do not see your sinfulness, pick up a bible and read it honestly, and pray to God to show you your sinfulness, and to break your heart so that you may desire repentance. Start with desiring to see your sin, and then pray that God would give you a heart that detests sin.
We must see how wretched we are, then and only then we will be able to deny ourselves, seek God, and repent.