We must define the word that is loosely throw around in Christendom, but you have to ask if folks know what it truly means. Repentance is a changing of your mind that leads to a change in you ways.
People who find themselves face to face with the Gospel of Christ respond in one of two ways. One, they reject any ideas of it, believe they are enjoying the best life has and there is no room for religion. The second type recognizes the truth in Romans 3:23, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The difference in these two individuals is the willingness to hear a message and based on what there have heard, change their minds and begin to change their ways. John explains this in his Gospel in the John 8:1-11.
As usual, the denominational leaders were trying to use the legalism of the self righteous to trap Jesus. As usual, he was smarter than them all and turned their legalism back on them. Then he taught the woman who was caught in adultery what repentance was all about. Jesus recognized her not as a woman caught in sin, but a person in need of a Saviour. He told her essentially, “go your way, but quit sinning”, or to say it another way, change your ways by changing your mind.
Joh 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Before you can make any behavior modification, you must mentally recognize you are doing wrong and willfully accept a change in direction. You must change your mind about what you are doing so you ban change your ways to be better. You must repent.
Repentance is not Confession
Repentance is not a ‘contrite heart’
Repentance is not guilt
Repentance is not Forgiveness
Repentance is not Salvation
These are all resulting from repentance, changing your mind so you can change your ways.
It is clear that repentance is not a condition for Salvation, but I believe it difficult at best to come to Christ without true repentance. But, I do believe there can be no forgiveness until there is repentance. The Rich Young Ruler is a perfect example.
Luk 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Luk 18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
Luk 18:20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
Luk 18:21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
Luk 18:22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
Luk 18:23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
It wasn’t the man’s possessions or riches that kept him from being saved. It was his unwillingness to turn loose of those riches. God even blesses Job with 7 fold blessings of everything Satan stole from him. The difference was in who these two trusted most, Job trusted God, the Rich Young Ruler trusted his riches.
You can’t be close to God if you continue in Sin. God hates Sin. God will not allow Sin in His presence. You want to draw closer to God? Take the words of Jesus to heart “go, and sin no more.”.
May God bless the reading of this article