“God…now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30)
THE FIRST MESSAGE OF JESUS
The very first experience upon which a Christian life can be built is Repentance. Jesus’ very first preaching of the Gospel – this wonderful Good News of salvation in Christ – is “Repent”. The second is “Believe”:
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel”‘ (Mark 1:14,15).
John the Baptist’s first message was “Repent “(Matt 3:2). The first message of Jesus Christ was “Repent” (Matt 4:17). The Risen Lord Jesus commanded His disciples that “repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His Name to all nations” (Luke 24:47). Thus repentance was Peter’s first message (Acts 2:38). The Apostle Paul preached, ”God… now commands all men everywhere to repent ” (Acts 17:30). Thus we see the extreme urgency of God’s command to all men everywhere – ”Repent’ ”
WHAT REPENTANCE IS NOT
Repentance is not conviction of sin – the feeling of guilt and shame for sin. The conviction that we have sinned against the Holy God of the Bible and broken His commandments will always come before repentance, but it is not repentance. No one repents until he sees his sins; but not all who see their sins go on to repent.
Repentance is not being sorry when we are caught doing wrong. Repentance is not reforming our lives, or trying to make it fresh start. Repentance is not being religious.
Repentance is not holding an opinion. Multitudes of people are deceived because they believe with their minds some creeds, or doctrines. They have “head faith.” Having accepted some teachings and traditions, they believe they are in good standing with God – but they have never repented of sin, asked the Lord Jesus to come in to their hearts, and exercised “heart faith” which; alone gives salvation. The Bible says you must accept and “Believe in your heart” (Rom 10:9).
WHAT TRUE REPENTANCE IS
Repentance involves the total personality, the whole man. It is a complete change of mind, heart and will, particularly concerning sin, and our relationship to God and His Son Jesus Christ.
In the change of mind, our intellect is involved. The way we think about sin, and about the Lord Jesus Christ, changes.
ln the change of heart, our emotions are involved. The way we feel about sin, and about the Lord Jesus Christ, changes.
ln the change of will, we want to turn from sin to God, and receive His salvation.
Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, changed his mind, but not his will. He hanged himself, and went out into eternal night.
ln the beginning, man was perfect. His mind was always towards God’s Word, God’s will, God’s way. But man chose to disobey God; and through disobedience to the Word and will of God, man’s mind, heart and will turned against God. Thus the need today to “Repent” – to change. To turn from our own way. To turn from our own will. To tum about, and return to God.