Repent. It is just one word, often spoken in scripture as a command, but it has great power, if obeyed, to change the course of history. An overstatement? I don’t think so.
Imagine if dictatorial world leaders were to kneel before God and repent. Imagine if corrupt politicians in Democratic Republics across the globe were to humble themselves at once and repent. Imagine if every criminal, every liar, every adulterer, every thief, every drunkard, and every addict in every city and every home in the world were to obey this one word, humble themselves before God, submit to His will and repent.
What a change! What a revival of righteousness our world would enjoy. 106 occurrences of the word repent or repentance in the Bible and each one is commanding us to change our mind and turn from sin.
It’s a word we’ve forgotten and have fallen out of habit in proclaiming. We need to repent.
I want to give you 5 reasons for repentance:
1) The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand
Matthew 3:1-2 says, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
This is one of the most often repeated reasons in scripture that we’re encouraged to repent. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. It’s here, working, and available to you! Something greater than anything on this Earth is accessible to you if you’ll repent of your sin, change your mind about God, and turn from your will to His will.
2) That your sins would be blotted out
Acts 3:19 says, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…”
This forces us to face a few uncomfortable truths. We all have sin in our life that needs to be addressed and God is the judge who will one day address them.
You are a sinner and you need a savior. I am a sinner and I need a savior. If our sins aren’t dealt with and blotted out, they will be held against us when we are judged by God. The wages we earn from our sins will be death but the gift God gives us is eternal life. The only way to access that freedom from sin and it’s wages is through repentance!
3) God Loves You
Revelation 3:19 says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
Repent because God loves you. The conviction that we feel when sin is addressed is a sign that His Spirit is drawing you to repentance. When clearly understood, and powerfully felt, His love is a strong motivation for repentance.
Luke 15:10 says, “…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Heaven celebrates when we repent!
How could I continue to reject the self sacrificial and supernatural love that God has shown to me? You and I should repent of our sin, not only because God is our judge, but also because He is our advocate, our substitute, and our savior. We should repent because He loves us.
4) Because we should
Mark 6:12 says,”And they went out, and preached that men should repent.”
When Jesus sent His disciples out two by two to preach in the cities they went everywhere preaching that men should repent. Let’s face it, we need to change. That was the disciples sermon and it is still our sermon today.
We should repent. We should change our minds about God. We should completely turn from our sin. Our hearts are nasty and given to selfishness and evil. God is great, and worthy of our full devotion. Put simply, we should repent because we’re wrong and He’s right!
We need a change of mind. We need a change of heart. The way of the world just doesn’t work. It has consistently proven itself incapable of sufficiently dealing with the questions that consistently plague the soul of mankind. The disciples were right, men should repent.
5) To turn away God’s wrath
Luke 13:5, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
Romans 2:5-6, “But because of your hardness and [unrepentant] heart, you are storing up treasures of wrath against yourself on the day of wrath when the righteous judgment of God will be revealed, and He “will render to every man according to his deeds.”
God is love but He is also a judge. He will justly and fairly judge all those who continue practicing sin without repentance. That judgment will include exclusion from Heaven and the eternal death of the soul. We must repent in order to turn away from us the wrath of God.
On the day of Pentecost, when the listening crowd asked Peter what they should do in response to the message he had just preached to them about Jesus and His substitutionary death on the cross, Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38).
If you want to be filled with the Spirit, if you know God loves you, if you want to turn away the wrath of God, if you want your sins to be blotted out, and you want to walk in the blessings and promises of the Kingdom of God then you need to repent!