[ecko_quote source="Matthew 4:17 "]From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” [/ecko_quote]
Both John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus began their public ministry and centered their preaching on Repentance (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). Jesus commanded His disciples to do likewise (Mark 1:14-15). Repentance is one of the most positive of all words. Repentance is fundamental for our Christian life and wellbeing. In these last days, we hardly hear the preaching of repentance which is a vital area of Christian life for which Jesus and John the Baptist including Jesus disciples considered critical. I believe every Christian should have an in-depth understanding of this matter which would help them not to repeat/practice sins on which they repented previously. The requirement for the salvation and filling of the Holy Spirit would be repentance (Acts 2:38). To repent means to stop going one direction, to turn around completely, and to go the opposite way. Repentance is the difficult thing to do; it requires our 100% turnaround. Repentance involves a dramatic and decisive change of course. God urges us to repent when the path we are taking leads to destruction. How comforting that the Creator loves us enough to warn us of impending danger!
Repentance does not bring a sense of sin, but a sense of unutterable unworthiness. When I repent, I realise that I am utterly helpless. I know all through me that I am not worthy even to bear His shoes. Have I repented like that? Or is there a lingering suggestion of standing up for myself? The reason God cannot come into our life is because we are not through into repentance. The entrance into Kingdom is through the panging pains of repentance crashing into a man’s respectable goodness. Then the Holy Spirit, Who produces these agonies, begins the formation of the Son of God in the life. The new life will manifest itself in conscious repentance. The bedrock of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a man cannot repent when he chooses; repentance is a gift of God. (Acts 11:18; 5:31) If ever you cease to know the virtue of repentance, you are in darkness. Examine yourself and see if you have forgotten how to be sorry.
Repentance is not just regret. So Repentance is more than feeling sorry. It means following through on that conviction and turning around—changing your mind and your heart so that you are no longer at odds with God but in sync with God. Jesus spoke to Paul in Acts 26:18 about this "turning" that leads to forgiveness and gave Paul his commission with these words, "I send you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins." There it is. That is repentance: turning from darkness to light and from Satan to God. It is a reversal of the direction of your life—toward God.
Our problem is that we think of repentance as something negative. When we recognise our sin, we prefer to “rededicate” our lives to God. We may even tell others we have resolved to more faithful to God than we were before. Yet the Bible does not speak of rededicating oneself. It speaks of repentance! Repentance indicates a decisive change, not merely a wishful resolution. We have not repented if we continue in our sin!
Repentance involves a radical change of heart and mind in which we agree with God’s evaluation of our sin and then take specific action to align ourselves with His will. A desire to change is not repentance. Repentance is always an active response to God’s Word. The evidence of repentance is not words of resolve, but a changed life.
Don’t allow mere unhappiness over what you have done to rob you of genuine repentance. You can blame yourself and be angry with yourself for the sins you have committed, but that is not repentance. Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the gravity of your sins. Ask the Spirit to clearly show you how God views your character. When you see your sin from God’s perspective, you will experience godly sorrow. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10)