Scripture Reference: Jeremiah 18:7-8
7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. 8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Let’s think of what this means. If the people at the time of Noah had repented, God would not have sent the flood. If Sodom and Gomorrah repented of their evil, the Lord would not have destroyed these cities of the plain. If the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah repented, they would not have been scattered and exiled. And, if we repent, we will not be punished for our sin.
We cannot read the Bible without seeing the call to repent – in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is part and parcel of the Gospel. What did John the Baptist preach but a baptism of repentance (Mk 1:4)? What was Jesus’ first sermon? It was a call to repentance (Mk 1:14-15). Peter and the other apostles implored their listeners to repent of their sin and believe in Jesus (Acts 2:38).
Guess what is missing in many churches today? A call to repentance! People are told that Jesus loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life, but they aren’t told they need to repent. People are told Jesus forgives them by dying for them, but they aren’t told they need to repent. People are promised the blessings of heaven without being told the demand to repent. We see the results of this when people answer an “altar call” or say the “sinner’s prayer” but there is no change in their life. Celebrities and sports heroes claim to “love Jesus” but engage in sexual immorality, abuse drugs and alcohol, and dress immodestly. Many people think of themselves as being saved though they never attend worship or love their neighbor or change their way of life.
This is a damnable error. Woe to those churches and preachers that don’t issue the call to repentance together with the call to believe in Jesus.
The Greek word for repentance means “change of mind.” This includes a change of mind about Christ – you accept that He is the eternal Son of God, that He is the Savior from sin, that He rules as Lord. But it also means a change of mind about sin. To repent means to turn your life upside down. To repent means to flee from sin and to follow Jesus. This is more than just saying, “Sorry, Sorry, Sorry!” It is more than offering a prayer and bringing a gift. Listen to how David puts this: (Ps 51:16-17) You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. (17) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God you will not despise. To repent means you feel bad enough about your sin to quit your sin.
Do you repent? As you prepared for the Lord’s Day, have you repented of your sins?
Posted by Fay-Ann Swearing
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