What is Repentance?

With the new year I wanted my own personal bible study and devotion to take on a particular theme or direction.  There are dozens upon dozens of ways to study through the bible.  I’ve tried the read the bible in a year thing and still haven’t completed the schedule.  (As a side note, reading through the bible isn’t necessarily the same as studying the bible.)  In the past I’ve also chosen a particular book in the bible to do an in-depth study.  I wanted to study something that would challenge my every day walk with the Lord.  It’s easy to get in a rut and just go through the motions.   After much prayer and contemplation I decided to study the commands of Christ.

John 14:15 says “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  

In order to keep his commandments I need to know what they are, study them and apply them to my life.  According to the sources I reviewed there are approximately 49 commands of Christ.  Some resources have a higher number but after reviewing the list I feel like several of them are very similar so I’m going to use the list of  49 commandments.

The first commandment of Christ I’m studying is the call to repent.  The Webster dictionary defines repentance as:  the action or process of repenting especially for misdeeds or moral shortcomings. 

Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Jesus calls us to repent of our sin.  Now, for those who call themselves Christian, down play sin and say Jesus was all about showing love to the world how do you handle this verse?  If sin is not really that big of deal why would Jesus call us to repent of our sin?  Yes, Jesus did come to show love to the world but no where in Scripture does it say sin really isn’t the issue as long as we show love (and by the world’s definition tolerance) to everyone around us.  It’s one of the ways many churches all over the world are watering down the Word of God.  Instead of preaching about the hard issues and holding their congregations accountable they want to soften it up and be liked and get more people in the door.

Acts 3:19 Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.  In this verse, Peter is calling on those listening to repent and be forgiven.  Again, if sin wasn’t an issue why would Peter be telling people they need to repent?  Why would forgiveness be needed if there isn’t truly sin in the world.  And, if there really isn’t sin in the world what did Jesus die for on that cross?

II Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  A Christian is saved by faith but our deeds, both good and bad, will be judged by Christ.  You can’t read this passage and not realize that without true repentance, the judgment we receive will be harsher.  Even if I’m saved by faith, if I sin and do not truly repent I will be judged for those deeds.  It’s kind of like saying “I know God, what I’m doing (fill in the blank) is sin but… it’s ok, you died on the cross for my sin so I don’t really need to repent.”

And finally, Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore, be zealous and repent.  Again, Jesus is speaking here and specifically says to be zealous and REPENT.  Hmmm…. I’m seeing a theme and the command to repent!

For me and my walk with the Lord, I realized through studying repentance that the almost 16 years I’ve been a Christian I’ve kind of skipped this command.  When I think of repenting I think of those ‘big’ sins… you know… I’ve never killed anyone, I’m not a thief, etc.  However, this past week the Lord has shown me I need to repent of ALL sin, even the ‘small’ ones.  The ugly thought I had about a family member, the cross words I said to my children, the disrespecting comment to my husband, the snarky comment to my mom (Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.  Exodus 20:12), the snarky comments about my mother-in-law.. the list could go on and on.  I need to repent of all my sin, not just if I’m an ax murderer.

Dear Precious Lord,

I’m in awe of your creation; all of it!  I’m overwhelmed with thanksgiving of all the mercy, forgiveness and love you have shown me since capturing my heart many years ago.  I can’t imagine the path I would be on had I not heard your call.  Lord, reveal to me the sins in my life and grant me the courage to confess and repent.  Thank you for the hope I have in Jesus.






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