We have talked a lot about how broken the Church is in regard to their lack of holding each other accountable, including Christian leaders. One of the fall-outs from that is the number of Christians who have abused their positions of leadership in the church and have fallen into sin. This behavior has caused many to question their own faith while many others have given up on God. The beautiful part of the gospel, is that Jesus died and rose again to pay the penalty of our sin, which means there is hope for all of us. This is great news, not only for a Christian who loves God and sins occasionally, but also for those who have caused many to stumble in their faith because of hypocrisy, lying, and evil acts toward others. For those who have walked away from their faith, there is hope for you also. We may have given up on God, but He has not given up on us. God has proven to us that He is a God of second chances. He wants all who have sinned to come back to a relationship with Him that is real and fruitful. He wants us to repent!
“Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
Most mistakenly believe that repentance is feeling remorseful of their sinful living with the promise that they will try to do better in the future. Repentance is not about our feelings nor behavior modification. It is about God giving us another chance to accept His love and forgiveness and follow Him. It is a call to all of us who are stubborn, resistant to change, and intent on living for ourselves instead of living to the glory of God. He does not want us to try to fix the broken things in our lives, but rather accept God’s forgiveness, and through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, live in obedience to our Savior.
“Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
As Paul says, “do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
In the Old Testament, one of the major themes is the repentance of God’s people from their sin of disobedience and doing their own thing. In those times, repentance of the people was often demonstrated through fasting, wearing sackcloth, sitting in ashes, wailing, and liturgical laments. These practices generally brought about true repentance from sins and a heart of worshiping and obeying God. It was genuine sorrow for their sin and a desire to renew a relationship with God. They understood that accepting the consequences of their sin was part of the repenting process.
“Even now—this is the LORD’s declaration—turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the LORD your God. For he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and he relents from sending disaster” (Joel 2:12-15).
In the New Testament, John the Baptist called people to repent, and he was warning people that the Kingdom of God was coming and people needed to turn from their sin to accept the love and forgiveness from the coming Messiah.
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight ” (Matthew 3:1-3).
“Then Jesus came And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16,17).
The door is wide open to all of us who have drifted from God to return to Him. If you have walked away from your faith in Jesus, now is the time to return.
- Begin by acknowledging that your heart and behavior are sinful and not what God has designed for you.
- Humble yourself and lean on the mercy of God and ask for forgiveness.
- Ask God to lead you into paths of righteousness that will lead to a change of heart and behavior.
- Find a Christian you trust has your best interest at heart and will pray and help guide you on your road to recovery.
We must never forget that Jesus suffered from indescribable pain to pay the price for our sin. He did it so that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus as we go into the world to disciple people into the saving knowledge of God. No one is perfect; we all sin. The good news for all of us is that Jesus Christ’s mission was to call sinners to repentance. This requires a complete and irreversible change of our minds, hearts, and actions. We will, by His grace, be ruled by God’s will and forever acknowledge Him as our Lord and Savior!
“The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but be gentle towards all, able to teach, patient, in gentleness correcting those who oppose him: perhaps God may give them repentance leading to a full knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24-25).