(Luke 15:7, 10) “I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
D.L. Moody the famous 19th Century evangelist said, “A man can stumble across the truth, pick himself up and brush himself off and go his way as if nothing happened.” It is one thing to know the doctrine of repentance but quite another thing to actually repent. Today there are multitudes in the professing Christian Church who know that they need to repent and that they should repent but do nothing about it. They may run to Christian counselors and psychotherapists of one sort or another about many problems they have in their lives to try to find answers. What they really need to do is to thoroughly repent before the Lord with no excuses and cast themselves totally upon Him for mercy and pardon. If we have thoroughly repented then there will be definite results in our life.
What will be the Results of Repentance?
1. Repentance produces joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.
“I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent¡. I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7, 10). We should work for the repentance of sinners with great enthusiasm because of the joy it brings to God and to the Lord Jesus as well as the blessings it brings to the sinner who repents. If all of heaven goes wild over one sinner who really repents imagine what happens when people are saved in wholesale lots!
2. Repentance results in the forgiveness and wiping away of all of our sins.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God for He will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7). “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
The forgiveness of sins in Jesus name is on the basis of His finished work at the cross. Only the blood of Jesus can put away sin. The Bible says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). Because of what Jesus did God can forgive and forget all of our sins. When we repent and believe on the lord Jesus Christ and receive Him into our lives as our personal Savior and Lord the salvation He provided at the cross becomes our experientially.
Redemption only through His blood
Only through His blood can we have redemption and the forgiveness of our sins according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7) Repentance not only results in forgiveness of sin but God actually erases them. As God Himself has said in His word; “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). It’s like we have never sinned at all. Even though God knows we have sinned He chooses to forget our past offences and transgressions. The shed blood of Jesus not only atones for our sins before a Just and Righteous God but also cancels them out and cleanses us from them all. (Psalm 103:12) (Hebrews 8:12 9:14) (1 John 1:7-9)
3. Repentance always precedes the gift of the Holy Spirit.
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Before we can really experience the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives we must first repent. The gift of the Holy Spirit is only for those who repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. The force of the word “receive” is “to take” i.e. to reach out by faith and receive what has already been poured out.
Confess and renounce all known sin
If we want the real and genuine power of the Holy Spirit flowing out of us then we must make sure that we have confessed and renounced all of the sin in our lives. If we hang on to sin in our lives then we will be spiritually defeated and powerless to stand against the devil. However, when the sin is confessed and put away, we will be able to enjoy spiritual victory and run the devil off.
Sin in the Camp
Iin the Old Testament whenever we see Israel engaged in physical warfare against their enemies it is teaching us about our spiritual warfare as believers. In the book of Joshua chapter seven when the Israelites attacked Jericho they were told to destroy everything but Achan kept some of the things devoted to destruction and hid them in his tent. When the Israelites moved against the city of Ai they were defeated. Joshua was grieved by this and went to the Lord about this matter and God showed him that there was sin in the camp. Achan’s sin was exposed and he and his family put to death. Once the sin had been dealt with Israel went against their enemies and was able to defeat them once again.
Throwing of everything that hinders us
If we want to know the power of the Holy Spirit resting on our lives then we need to rid ourselves of all and every sin otherwise we will remain spiritually defeated. We need to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us and run with perseverance the race marked out for us fixing our eyes upon Jesus the author and the perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2a) In the Olympic games when an athlete is competing for the prize he strips off everything that would hinder him from running to win the prize. So it is with us we must cast aside everything that would hinder us in our spiritual race towards heaven.
Avoid spiritual contamination
God promises us in His Word that if we will separate ourselves from the attitudes, ambitions and pursuits of this world and run away from sin then He will be a Father to us and we will be His true sons and daughters. If we would know the real and genuine power of the Holy Spirit then we need to purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (Hebrews 6:17- 7:1)
4. Repentance results in times of refreshing from the Lord.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that He may send the Christ (Messiah), who has been appointed for you-even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through his holy prophets” (Acts 3:19-21).
These words in their context were spoken to the people of Israel who had not believed in Jesus as the Messiah. The implication made by Peter was that the repentance of Israel as a nation would result in a spiritual revival and in the coming of the Messiah. However, the spiritual truth is that whenever people repent and turn to Christ for salvation they are renewed and refreshed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Whenever God’s people repent collectively or individually He sends them times of spiritual refreshing. Repentance always comes before refreshing not afterwards.
What Causes Repentance?
1. God’s Gift of Eternal Life through Jesus Christ causes Repentance.
“When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “so then, God has even granted the Gentiles repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18).
Salvation is God’s gift. It is not something we earn or merit. (Ephesians 2:8-10) We deserve death and hell for our sin and rebellion against the Lord and because we have broken His commandments, however, God in his mercy gives us the capability to repent if we really want to repent because of what Jesus provided for us at the cross.
God will not repent for us
While God gives us the capacity to repent and makes available the power of his Spirit to enable us to repent He will not repent for us. We must be willing to repent and turn away from all and every sin. If we are willing to do this he will enable us to do it by the power of his Holy Spirit. Repentance always precedes the gift of eternal life. Peter when preaching boldly declared this when he said; “The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead-whom you have killed by hanging him on a tree. God exulted Him to His own right hand as Prince and Savior that He might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel” (Acts 5:30-32).
All of us crucified the Lord Jesus
While it was a Jewish mob led by corrupt religious leaders that put Jesus to death on the cross it was all of us that really put him to death. The scripture says that, “He tasted death for every man.” (Hebrews 2:9) However, the Lord Jesus is the only one that can give anyone, Jew or Gentile, the ability to repent. If we really want to thoroughly repent, then Jesus will enable us to do it. God, through the Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, gives us the gift of repentance. However He will not do the repenting for us. We are the ones who are to do the repenting.
2. The preaching of God’s word through men filled with the the power of the Holy Spirit causes repentance.
“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38, 41).
On the Day of Pentecost when Peter preached to that great crowd he was filled with the Spirit; consequently, the Word of God coming out of his mouth was filled with the power of God and people were “cut to the heart and cried out’ Men and Brethren, what shall we do?'” Only God’s Word preached in the Spirit’s power will bring people to repentance. We can have all kinds of slick programs and lavish spectacular music that bombard the senses and have top name speakers that can move the crowds but unless the Holy Spirit moves in power there will be no genuine and lasting repentance. In themselves Alpha courses and seeker sensitive programs and the like will never produce genuine and heartfelt Biblical repentance! This is the work of the Holy Spirit, however, for Him to do His work the Word of God must be preached faithfully and the way of salvation made clear.
Repent with the will not with the emotions
Today there are multitudes of people in the Church who have had some kind of emotional religious experience especially among the hyper Charismatics but have never genuinely repented or really understood what it means to repent Biblically. While there will be an emotional outlet for some for others it will not be that way. The one thing we do know that if a sinner really repents then they will stop habitually sinning. They will struggle with temptation and yew at time they will commit a sin because of the fallen human nature. having said this they will not be salves to sinful desires and passions. The instrument that the Holy Spirit uses in his convicting and converting work is the Word of God. The Gospel must be accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Paul affirms; “Because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5-6). Compare: (Romans 10:17) (Ephesians 6:17).
3. God’s kindness leads towards repentance.
“God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.” (Romans 2:4) When King David came to the throne of Israel after king Saul and his son Jonathan were dead he asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” There was one son of Jonathan who was crippled in both feet and lived in the very impoverished and corrupt town of Lodibar. When David heard about him he had Mephibosheth brought to him in the palace. When Mephibosheth came into the king’s presence he was really scared. He bowed down before David probably expecting a death sentence from the king. However David said, “Don’t be afraid for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” So we read that Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of his sons and that he lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the kings table, and he was crippled in both feet.”
We are all spiritually crippled
Mephibosheth is like us as sinners who are spiritually crippled by sin and are in need of God’s pardon and mercy. We cannot walk unless the Lord Jesus enables us to walk. Lodibar is a type of our bondage to sin and our attachment to this fallen world. David had Mephibosheth brought to Him from Lodibar and this is like God who draws us to Himself by the Holy Spirit and gives us the opportunity to repent in His presence. David is like God who extends mercy to us when we bow before him in absolute surrender seeking His mercy. When David pardoned Mephibosheth for Jonathan’s sake this is a type of God having mercy on us and pardoning us for Jesus sake. When we see Mephibosheth eating at the kings table in Jerusalem we see a type of what happens when we receive mercy from God through putting our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It also teaches us about the marriage supper of the Lamb that is to come.
Adopted as ‘Sons’
Even though we are not God’s natural sons He adopts us as son’s because of Jesus consequently we can continuously live in God’s presence and have all our needs met supernaturally. Mephibosheth was lame in both feet. Even though he was restored to the king’s favour he never forgot that he was crippled. Even after we have received God’s mercy His forgiveness and cleansing from sin we must never forget that apart from His grace we would always be spiritually crippled. Even though we can know all of our past sins have been forgiven we still remember them and at times it grieves us beyond measure.
God is not willing that any should perish
Now let’s look further at the text in Romans 2:4. The word rendered for “kindness” is “goodness.” The word also describes kindness, graciousness and perseverance. God is a God of righteousness and holiness but also a God of love. He would rather have mercy on a sinner than see that person go to an eternal hell. While God gets angry with sinners He never delights in their death and separation from Him forever. (Psalm 7:11) (Ezekiel 18:32) God does not want anyone to die without knowing the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation. The reason that God has not put an end to sin, injustice and corruption in the world is because He is giving people time to repent before it’s too late. “For God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Taste and see the Goodness of God
The Bible invites us to “taste” the goodness of the Lord but in order to really experience this aspect personally for ourselves we must first repent. If you have never repented do it now without delay! Who knows what tomorrow will bring for you? God’s Word says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8). God’s Word also says, “Everyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame”(Romans 10:13). Compare: (1 Peter 2:3) (2 Peter 3: 9)
4. God’s loving discipline and correction causes Repentance.
(Hebrews 12: 5-11) “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed” (Proverbs 3:11-12) “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son He delights in.
God’s Word is the primary instrument He uses to discipline us
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9-11).
(Psalm 19:7-11) “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward”
God finishes what He starts
Sometimes the Lord will use circumstances to accomplish what He wants in our lives. We are the clay and He is the potter. If we seek to obey His word then he can mould the clay of our lives into the shape He desires it to be. On the other hand, if we resist His words then the lumps in the clay of our lives will need to be removed. Sometimes He will have to reshape us and begin again if we resist His molding. Of course His ultimate plan and purpose for our lives can be hindered and even delayed by our resistance to his will however in the end he will have his way. Paul understood this when he said, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Compare: (Jeremiah 18: 1-7) (Revelation 3:19)
5. Godly sorrow brought about through the ministry of the Lord’s servants causes repentance.
(2 Corinthians 7:8-11) “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it – I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while – yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.” The godly sorrow in this case was itself brought about by the correction administered by the Lord’s servant Paul. Compare: (2 Timothy 2:24-25)
6. The sight of God causes repentance.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5). “My ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6).
A revelation of the Lord will bring about in us a hate for sin and a revelation of our own utter sinfulness before a just and holy God. If we want to see others come to repentance then we must bring them face to face with God and with His Law. This can be done when we show them God as revealed in His word. However, it must be done by the power of the Holy Spirit.
First you must repent!
It may be that you have never seen the need to thoroughly repent or you may have never really repented at all even though you know that you need to repent. Before the Lord can really deal with your life you must first repent. If you have never repented of your sin and turned to the Lord for mercy then do it now. “So as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7-8a).
A Church goer only?
You may have been in church all your life but have never personally yielded your life completely to the Lord Jesus Christ. You may even regularly attend church. You may not be involved in sinful vices and be living a morally respectable life but if you have never repented and received the Lord Jesus into your life as your personal savior and rightful Lord then self-will is still in control of your life and you will perish in your sins and rebellion!
Why not repent right now?
The only thing you will miss out on is hell and the lake of fire! God loves you dearly and His Son has bled and died for you to spare you that eternal torment. Jesus came to bring you a personal relationship with the living God. Run to Him now with all of your sins, repent at His feet. Yield your life up to Him. Be willing to turn from all and every sin and He will receive you! Do it right now! Why delay?
Seek the LORD while He can be found
Now if you are a believer and there are things in your life that you need to put right with the Lord then go to Him right now and put things right and once more allow Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit. God tells us what He will do when we thoroughly repent, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God for He will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).