Repentance is change for the better. It is a self-initiated change. The bible says that John the Baptist came with the baptism of repentance (Mark 1:4). He called the people to change their behaviours, change their attitude. He outlined the wrong behaviours of the people. At that time, people have started calling good bad and bad good. There was no moral compass anymore.
And John decided to be that moral compass. That voice of God reminding the people of God’s moral imperatives, waking up their conscience. And those who responded to what John’s call confessed their sin, making right their relationship with God. With the coming of John, there was a call to come back into demands of God and meeting them. Over time corrupt practices have overshadowed the demand of God and there was a need for change in the order of things. God would no longer be ignored.
The bible has stern rebuke for those who cover their sin. It said that he who covers his sin would not prosper but he who confesses shall find mercy (Proverbs 28:13).
James wrote that we should confess our sins one to another, so that we might be healed (James 5:16). If you are involved in a recurrent sin, the worst you can do is to cover it up. You need to own up about your need for help.
It is coming into the light, into the open that will break the power of darkness. The devil has a vested interest in keeping you hidden in your sin. You are in bondage to some practices and you do not know what to do about it, but the shame would keep you tied up. It is time to break that shame, break that chain and come into the light in repentance. Know the truth so you can be free (John 8:32). And constant exposure to truth brings the need for constant repentance.
As we are exposed to truth we need to have that truth renew our minds. As we are exposed to the reality of the Holy Spirit, it is time we begun to change our perspective about people, places, things, practices and times, so that we are constantly being changed from glory to glory as we behold the image of the son of God (2Corinthians 3:18).
The only endless possibility for us is change but that is what people resist. But the worst thing is to feel who you are right now is the ultimate there is to be. That is pride and God resists the proud while giving grace to the humble, and that grace makes positive change possible for us.
Repentance has to do first with the thought, it is the change of mind before the change of life. If we are not ready to think differently, we are not ready to live differently.
We need to repent to change our alliance from the flesh, from self to Christ, to be able to say like Paul: I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, but the life I live is by the grace of Jesus to give his life for me (Galatians 2:20). What he means is that his life is patterned according to him, his grace, his life, his choices for me, his wisdom for me, his help for me.
Certain sins were mentioned in the focus verse:
Murder starts with a heart of hatred (Matthew 5:20-22) and Jesus has come so that once again the love of God can find a dwelling in our heart (Romans 5:5). But Jesus called the devil a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44), full of hate and loathing. It goes without saying that he had a major role to play in the Cain murdering Abel (Genesis 4:1-16).
But murder is not about physical attack it is also about attack on personality and self-confidence of others. The bible says people can even speak like the piercing of the sword, but the tongue of the judge leads to life (Proverbs 12:18).
When Jezebel wanted to kill Naboth, to get his vineyard for her husband, she did not have to take a physical sword, but only set to people to lie against him that he did something wrong (1Kings 21:1-14), blaspheme against God and eventually, was stoned to death based on the law of Moses. That was the law wrongly applied to kill someone, because there was two or three witnesses against him, no wonder the law was done away with.
The purpose of magic spell is to establish control over another person. Paul wrote that witchcraft is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:17-23). This has to do with all means of manipulating others.
We are called to be free. And the bible says that no enchantment shall work against us (Numbers 23:23). And no power of the enemy shall overcome us (Luke 19:10). But those who chose the path of magic spell have sold their souls to the devil, as his instruments (Acts 8:18-24), his slave.
The bible reserves severe judgment to witches (Exodus 22:18), and others who have allowed themselves to be tools of satanic wickedness. No one seeks magic spell without the desire to control others, but what relationship with Jesus gives us is freedom.
Immorality, though may be all around you and you are called a fool because you are not running around with uncontrollable sexual appetite like others. Though the sexual force is powerful, it could be regarded as the ultimate test of self-control (1Corinthians 9:27).
Instead of stealing, Paul advised that we should be industrious, working with our hands, in classic statement on the dignity of labour (Ephesians 4:28).
All the above needs a change of mind from harming others to helping them, from seeking to control others to serving them, from being controlled by sexual pleasure to delighting in the Lord, from stealing to giving.
Paul said that reason we are to work is so that we can contribute (Ephesians 4:28) to enhance of the lives of others. Life is not just about you and to be an example for us, Jesus said that he has not come to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45). Paul advised that we need to have the same mind that was in Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11). And through the process of repentance, we change our own mind and have the mind of Christ.
There are two sides to the mind of Christ the humility side and the wisdom side (1Corinthians 1:30). Many want to take advantage if his wisdom, his principles without his attitude, but that will not work on the long run. We need to repent and embrace a mind of humility in all we do.
- Making Excuses (dailybibleplan.com)
- A real word on repentance by Chris Gilliam (peterlumpkins.typepad.com)
- Preachers Today Should Follow the Example of Bible Preachers in Denouncing Sin (blackchristiannews.com)
- Have you come to Jesus in repentance? (thelivingmessage.com)