God's Call to Genuine Repentance
by Charles F. Stanley
I. Introduction: Two types of people need to repent: a) those professing to be Christian but whose lifestyle don't reflect that change, and b) believers who commit the same sin repeatedly.
Scripture: Luke 24:45-49
A. Repentance is essential. The following biblical figures stress its importance:
- John the Baptist and Jesus (Matt. 3:1-2; Matt. 4:17; Luke 5:32; Luke 24:47)
- The apostle Paul (Romans 2:4; Acts 17:30)
- Peter (2 Peter 3:9)
B. Repentance is heartfelt sorrow for sin, along with a commitment to walk in obedience.
- This is more than sorrow for being caught or misery due to the consequences of disobedience. For example, the Prodigal Son not only comes to his senses; he also leaves the hog pen (Luke 15:11-15).
- Salvation is an internal change that results in external action (Matt. 7:16,20). The Great Commission says, "Make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20).
C. Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin.
- Many familiar verses on salvation refer to faith, because unbelief is the primary sin that separates men from God (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8; Rom. 10:13).
- The New Testament Greek term for "believe" is an action word. Salvation requires more than mere intellectual assent to Jesus' existence.
- Trusting Christ as your Savior gives you a new beginning (2 Cor. 5:17).
- Repentance isn't "trying harder." Apart from the mercy and grace of the Lord, you can't truly "clean up" your life
- Receiving Christ as your personal Savior includes acknowledging your sinfulness before God.
D. Surrender is the key to genuine repentance.
- Confession means we agree with God that our sin is wrong. Without surrender, there will be no repentant spirit, and the person is likely to commit the sin again.
- The Lord forgives our wrongdoing if we confess it (Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9).
- We must be willing to walk away from what God says is sin. By continuing in rebellion or settling for second best, we're saying we don't really trust Him.
III. Conclusion: Through confessing in a spirit of repentance, we can be freed from the power of sin. Sincerely surrender your life to the Lord, and He will conform you into the image of Christ. You'll be free to experience His best!