Getting Right with God Pt. 1: Repentance

“Should I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the LORD God, or that he should turn from his ways and live?”

-Ezekiel 18:23

You know it, the most famous Bible quote of all time: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever would believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).


So, God is infinitely loving and forgiving, despite the horrible wreck we have made of this place and ourselves. Even when we were dead in our trespasses, God made us alive together with Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5). Yet we still do not love Him as we should.

God gave His only begotten Son… God gave Himself. God took the form of a human and lived among the people to show them the way. And what did they do? They rejected Him and arrested Him and killed Him for claiming to be the Son of God (blasphemy by their standards).

Even those who beat and crucified Him, Jesus prayed to the Father to forgive them. “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He loved them enough still to be willing to forgive them.

And those were the people who consciously, advertently beat and spit on him – who hung Him on a cross and mocked Him as He died.

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

-Genesis 6:5

But even long, long before that, mankind had turned their backs on God. Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s commands and snuck behind His back. Cain murdered his brother and lied about it. And on and on it went…

God regretted that He made man in the first place (Genesis 6:6) and decided a do-over was necessary. But after the flood, even Noah and his family could not keep their act together.

The Israelites coming out of Egypt continually risked their destruction by complaining and disbelieving God and His promises. If it were not for Moses interceding for them, they would not have made it ten feet out of Egypt. Nevertheless, God set them to wandering until the original generation of Israelites coming out of Egypt died in the wilderness without seeing the promised land. Forty years for a trip that should have taken a couple of days.

“If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear them from Heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:14

It is not like God never gave a warning or even a suggestion that we might want to rethink our lives and where we are headed. The preceding verse can not be much clearer. Do this, and I will forgive you. Sounds easy, right?

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the give of the Holy Spirit.” -Acts 2:37-38

Repentance has always been the message. John the Baptist preceded Jesus in this message, making way for the Savior to come.

“Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2) was John’s call to the people as he baptized them in the Jordan River.

After Jesus was Himself baptized and tempted by the devil in the wilderness, He began His ministry, preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).

For Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death - 2 Corinthians 7:10

Repentance is grief over your sin. Grief that you have sinned against God. You have done something to dishonor Him. In 2 Samuel 12, David had just gotten Bathsheba, his best friend’s wife, pregnant. In the process of trying to cover this up, he had his friend, her husband, Uriah, killed in battle. The LORD sent Nathan the Prophet to make David’s sin known to him. When David realized what he had done, he cried out, “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:13). And again in Psalm 51 David laments over this again, writing “Against you (God) and you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Psalm 51:4).

Repentance is not just feeling guilty over having wronged someone or fear of getting caught. Those are examples of worldly grief. Real repentance is the agony you feel having sinned against God – doing what you know He forbids. Repentance is the renouncing of your sinful ways and coming before Jesus Christ and begging forgiveness.

For I know my transgressions. My sin is ever before me. -Psalm 51:3

Therefore, I despise myself, repenting in dust and ashes. -Job 42:6

We are not ignorant to what God desires, nay, demands of us, His church. We are without excuse if we have read one page of the Scriptures. Our sols ought to be saturated daily in God’s word that we may always be reminded of our need for repentanc4e, of our need to seek God’s forgiveness. We must pray daily, confessing our transgressions and acknowledging our sin to God. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:19).

But this is the hard part. We are prideful. We are selfish. We did what we did because it felt good at the time. There are two components I believe are necessary to sincere repentance. Those are humility and acceptance. Humility is being true to yourself. It is not thinking higher of yourself than you should. WE have weaknesses. We have faults. We need to recognize we have these faults and we are not perfect or better than anyone else.

Some people are great at math. I can probably do more push ups than most of them (conceitedness!) Does that really make either of us better than the other? No. We have strengths and weaknesses that others do not have. God is the only perfect being. Only He can make these judgements. “Humble yourselves before the LORD, and He will exalt you,” (Jacob 4:10). “Those who are last shall be first and first shall be last” (Mark 10:31).

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. -Jacob 4:6

We are all born imperfect. We are all born sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and we better know better than to think otherwise.

We hate to see our own faults. Especially when we know too well what most of them are. We can try denying them, but God searches the mind and the heart and give to us according to our deeds (Jeremiah 17:10). We might as well accept and admit them before God. He knows anyway. Once we realize the error of our sinful ways, we must confess this to Jesus and repent – to ask Him for a change of mind and heart to turn our lives from our sins and to God.

What fruit do you have in the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death. -Romans 6:21

The wages of sin is death. But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 6:23

Acceptance is facing the truth. We are not good. We need God’s help. And we know we are not worthy to come before Him with unrepentant sin in our lives. You must hit your knees and cry out, like the Tax Collector in Luke 18. “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift his eyes up to Heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘LORD, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

And Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, he laid into the Jews, lambasting them for their disobedience, disbelief, and eventual murder of Jesus The Jews realized they had committed this great sin and asked, “Brother, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38).

How humbling can it be to cry out and admit you need help? You must be very strong and very weak at the same time. You accept the fact that you are flawed, and you have done some horrible tings in your life that kept you from the love of our Almighty Creator God.

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away, through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me and my strength dried up, as in the heat of the summer. Selah. I acknowledge my sin to you , and I did not cover my iniquity, I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah. -Psalm 32:3-5

Without repentance, you have no hope. You have no part of the Spirit of God, who is your guarantee of the inheritance (Ephesians 1:13).

“The law is perfect, reviving the soul” (Psalm 19:7). Read it. Pray over it. Meditate on it day and night that you will reach repentance from your sins. Turn to God and admit your evil. Only then can the beginning of change take place.

One final quote from Jesus Christ Himself to put an end to the matter, “No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3,5). No plainer words have been spoken. Listen to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, repent. Turn from your evil ways and go running to God. May He then grant you sincere repentance and salvation.

***LORD God, I thank you for your call to repentance – the ability you have given us to see our sinfulness for what it is, and to come to you to ask for forgiveness. You have opened our eyes, LORD, to how awful we are and how much we need you.

We can not save ourselves, LORD, we can not make up for what we have done. All we can do is ask you to take our sins and blot them out – to make us a new creation in Jesus Christ.

LORD, give us the Spirit of repentance every day, that we may come t you for guidance and correction. Keep us from temptation and sin, to be stronger against the schemes of the devil until he is no longer a force working against us.

Help us keep our eyes on you always, and on your kingdom. Forgive us, please, of all our sins and watch over us, protecting us with your righteous hands.

We give our lives, our souls, our sins to you, LORD, that you may keep forming us into righteous, holy, obedient servants to you and to Jesus Christ. In His beautiful name, Amen. ***


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