True Repentance Demostrated: PART 5
The First Thing I Look For Is...
The Gospel is the only thing that can bring about any significant and lasting change, to one bound by sin. Whether the sin involves internet pornography, pre-marital sex, adultery, or the various accepted sexual identities of our culture—straight, gay, les, bi, trans, or questioning—even adult/child sex, or some combination or something else altogether.
Catch all that? What a list of false identities our culture has openly embraced as true. So what does this Gospel look like, in a true believer, who has dabbled or even drowned himself in some sexual sin?
Some of you already know that I disciple sexually broken men online. I call these men—students—and offer them remedial care, as we journey together from the brokenness of sin into God’s Life of wholeness and freedom. When I begin working with a student, I am looking for one thing—first. A student, who is ready to overcome a particular sin habit, is flooded with true repentance (1 John 1:6-10). If not, the lack of ongoing repentance is a strong indication that they need to be saved.
The first characteristic of the Gospel is always repentance. Yes, faith is the life-changer. But faith without repentance isn’t saving faith. It can only lead to an intellectual heart of head knowledge about God, but never truly knowing God. The prime evidence of saving faith is true repentance. Thus, the Scriptures command ‘everyone everywhere to repent and believe’.
Then What Does True Repentance Look Like?
So, what does true repentance look like? True repentance demonstrates a willingness—a genuine desire—to amputate anything or anyone that would lead them into sinning. By amputation I mean, the student cuts out, cuts away, or cuts off anything or anyone that might cause them to fall into sins, no matter how much it hurts. Yes, there is a growth process into this attitude of ‘radical amputation’. But within this growth, there is a visible heart toward repentance, rather than a running away from it.
The Apostle James calls it humility (James 4:6-10). All those who have been granted true repentance, evidence this surrendered life to some degree. It may not be perfectly lived out, but some amount of true repentance always characterizes the true Christian’s life.