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Why it’s important to teach “repentance” and how!


Repentance …

  • Free online Dictionary… “To feel such regret for past conduct as to change one’s mind regarding it.”
  • The Wikipedia …In Biblical Hebrew, the idea of repentance is represented by two verbs: שוב shuv (to return) and נחם nicham (to feel sorrow). In the New Testament, Greek word μετάνοια (metanoia), the preposition ‘meta’ (after, with), and the verb ‘noeo’ (to perceive, to think). The compound word means: a change of mind accompanied by regret and change of conduct.

When we repent, we acknowledge these fundamentals of Christianity are true…. God created each of us for fellowship. We are sinners (rebellious to God and hate His laws) by nature, therefore, we cannot have fellowship with God. But, God has provided a Way to restore our fellowship with Him. We must return to God on His terms not ours.  Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

In fact, the gospel has good news and bad news. The bad news… because we sin, we cannot have fellowship with God who is holy (without sin). The good news is that God provided a way to heal this broken relationship by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die as an atonement (payment) for all our sins. But each of us must repent (acknowledge we are sinners that sin) and believe and receive Christ by faith to be reconciled (made right) with God and to obtain salvation (become children of God, who inherit all the rights as God’s heirs).

We are commanded to “repent”…

  • “Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15
  • “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17
  • “God commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness…”  Acts 17:30

Why people do not like to repent? Every time we sin (disobey God’s commands and laws), we are designed to feel shame and guilt. In fact, it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict the world of sin and judgment. Repentance (admitting God is right, holy, and just, and that we are not) is very difficult to do. It means confessing there is a God who has a purpose and a plan for each of us and that we are all disobedient and rebellious toward that plan and purpose. Most people will never repent.

I have one particular child, who did not like to repent. He hated feeling shame and guilt. In his mind, he could not be loved if he was bad or did a bad thing. He also did not like the thought of someone other than himself being in control. Even to this day, he will not repent and will justify his sins.

Personally, I too find it difficult to repent. My flesh wars against the Spirit and it will until I die and receive a glorified body (sinless and painless). God’s Word commands us to “walk in the Spirit not the flesh.”

In order for someone to repent, they must know they are loved, no matter what….loving the sinner but hating the sin. It is important to understand how much God loves each of us. True love is unconditional. God created man and gave him all of creation to provide for all of his daily needs. God made man free to choose to walk with Him or not, but man chose and still chooses not to obey. The consequence for not loving God is separation from His Creator and Provider. But even after man sinned, God sill loved him. God provided a way for man to return to Him through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus. “While we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us.” Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, He redeemed (purchased our freedom from separation, slavery, death, and the power of sin). And each day God extends each of us mercy by forgiving all, who believe and receive Christ as their Savior and Lord, their sins. This truth that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son to perish, that whosoever believes in Him shall have eternal life. John 3:16” must be understood before a person can repent.

There are two reasons why each person should learn why and how to repent. You cannot become a Christian and you cannot walk in the Spirit without repentance. Repentance is crucial to being and living the Christian life.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”I John 1: 8,9

How does a person repent to God…admit we are disobedient, confess our specific sins (lie, steal, mock, etc.), thank God for His forgiveness, and ask the Holy Spirit to control my life. It is important to be willing, specific, sincere, truthful, thankful, and humble.

Talking and listening to God is called prayer. Usually prayer is seen as just “asking”. But prayer is much more, such as praising, repenting, asking, and yielding to God. Prayer is a form of worship. This is why the SOW includes all these aspects of prayer.

To teach someone how to pray (praise, repent, ask, and yield), you must…

  • give examples from the Bible of prayer such as the “Our Father”,
  • share with them testimonies of women and men of faith, who prayed, such as Abraham, David, Nehemiah, George Mueller, Corrie Ten Boone, Martin Luther King, etc.
  • be a role model of praying for wisdom, healing, thanks, etc..

When I first became a Christian, I found it difficult to talk to an invisible God. But like writing a letter to a relative or friend, who lived long distance and I could not see, it was easy for me to write God a letter of PRAYer…Praising, Repenting, Asking, and Yielding.

Practicing PRAYer, by writing a letter to God, should prepare us to PRAY whenever needed during the day (washing clothes, digging a garden, driving a car, playing ball, etc.). In fact, you can PRAY anytime, anywhere and God will hear answer.  PRAYing in the Spirit is how a Christian walks with God. If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

More about prayer… http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-prayer-20-important-scripture-quotes-2/

More about repentance… http://www.aplaceofworship.org/theword/Repentance.htm

 

 

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