True Repentance (Part 1)
Reflections from the continuing testimony of Jesus Life living in and through Ron Brownin.g
(Mark 1:15…John 1:12… Acts 11:18… 2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 36:26-27)
There are many times and for many reasons people repent. Repentance, in its simplest terms, is a turning away. There seems to be a sorrow. A heavy sadness, even depression over some consequence for bad thoughts, choices, or feelings. Sinful words or actions. Things we do can be offensive. Not only to ourselves but to those closest to us at home, at work, or amongst friends.
For me repentance came heavily when I went to prison for fraudulent and sex crimes. I was torn up inside because my life was being disrupted from family, friends, and personal ambitions. But is this type of repentance true? Yes, it’s real. But is it biblical repentance? No!
Repentance is a turning. It’s doing a 180. Turning from one thing to another. However, in a biblical sense, repentance is turning first from sin (i.e., the condition of sin that makes us sinners... turning from our sin condition to Jesus as Lord in order to get saved), then sins (i.e., the behavior, by which God identifies us as sinners), and finally sinning (i.e., our own activities—thoughts, choices, and feelings—of right and wrong). Turning from our own sinfulness to Jesus our Lord, initially saves us from hell in the here-and-now, and hell in the here-after, then continuously saves us for our own spiritual growth and wellbeing.
Every true Christian has been granted God’s gift of repentance. That’s right, true repentance isn’t something we can muster up ourselves. It’s supernatural. Something we can’t achieve or earn. For true repentance is God-given. True repentance ignites a Life of saving faith in Jesus Christ within our hearts. It’s the means by which we believe and are saved. Born of God. It’s the means by which we believe to live saved. Continuously saved for right living, growing up in the faith. The Christian Life. And it's the means by which we are heavenbound. A Life forever with Jesus. Eternal Life!
There came a day, God confronted me with true repentance. And my heart flamed with a Life of saving faith. I got saved. And overtime, my understanding grew. I was set free from sin. My nature to sin was exchange for a new nature. Jesus’ righteous nature. And I learned three things about God’s rescue of me.
- God no longer sees me as sin (i.e., as a sinner captured by the sin condition with a nature to sin) for Jesus exchanged my sin nature for His divine nature (2 Peter 1:1-4). Given a NewHeart, I now partake in and share Jesus' righteous nature--Jesus' Life!
- God no longer identifies me by my sins (e.g., as a liar, a thief, a gay man, etc.); I was given a NewHeart with new and right desires for obedience. Father God no longer sees me through the lens of my sin; rather He sees me through the lens of Jesus’ righteous Life—Jesus’ obedience.
- God no longer destined me for sinning. Jesus set me free, rescuing me from sin and sins, to empower and teach me how to overcome sinning. A journey that takes a lifetime.
Pastor Peter summed it all up in God’s Word:
This letter is from Simeon Peter, a loving servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to those who have been given a faith as equally precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. May grace and perfect peace cascade over you as you live in the rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Everything we could ever need for life and godliness has already been deposited in us by his divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the rich experience of knowing him who has called us by name and invited us to come to him through a glorious manifestation of his goodness. As a result of this, he has given you magnificent promises hat are beyond all price, so that through the power of these tremendous promises we can experience partnership with the divine nature, by which you have escaped the corrupt desires that are of the world (2 Peter 1:1-4, the Passion, emphasis mine).
True repentance ignites the heart with a Life of saving faith. By which our sin is exchanged for Jesus’ righteous Life. It’s these gifts that carry the Christian in continuous repentance and faith, from rebirth into Eternity.
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15, ESV).
“But to all who did receive Him, who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God ” (John 1:12, ESV).
“When they heard this, their objections were put to rest and they all glorified God, saying, “Look what God has done! He’s giving the gift of repentance that leads to Life…” (Acts 11:18, the Passion).
“For (Father) God made the only One (Jesus) who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God through our union with Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21, the Passion).
“And I (the Sovereign God) will give you a NewHeart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations” (Ezekiel 36:26-27, NLT).
NEXT: True Repentance Demonstrated (Coming Soon)