Repentance is the only way man can turn to God. This is emphasized throughout the Bible. But what is repentance?
Repentance is a genuine meeting you have with God; but in God’s own terms. It happens when someone suddenly realizes that he has been rebelling against God and His authority, running away from His love and also doing things that are sinful.
When he realizes these and decides to turn away from such behavior; not only outwardly but also inwardly in his heart; then it can be said that he has repented. This is the first step towards faith in God. Now his life has a new direction which can be God-controlled and guided. He then begins to act out his repentance by doing deeds worthy of it.
God through Prophet Ezekiel talked some significant things about repentance: He asked the people to turn away from all their offenses so that sin would not be their downfall. He asked them to get rid of all their evil practices and also to get a new heart and a new spirit.The reason, God made it clear, was that He took no pleasure in the death of anyone. So the call was and still is: “Repent and live!”
John the Baptist said: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” And also “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” That is what Zacchaeus promised to do when Jesus went to his house. Jesus said: “The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost was: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” So you will find that the key to coming near to God is repentance.
It also is clear from the Bible that God has kept preaching of the gospel as the primary means of calling people to repentance. Jesus Himself said that the people of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah.
The parable of the lost son in the Gospel of Luke is a classic case of repentance in story form anyone can easily understand. He had a moment of realization when he was in deep trouble. He came to his senses. He then turned his thoughts toward his home. He came home with words of repentance.
The father ran to meet him and restored him to his rightful place in the family and prepared a feast for him. When you also come home in repentance, you will find your Heavenly Father waiting for you. No questions asked! Only joy! For you were lost but found! You were dead in sin but now is alive!
Therefore find your acceptance with your heavenly Father today through repentance.
So far we were talking about the case of ungodly people repenting and coming to God. But Christians too sometimes live in sin. They fail to realize how much God is grieved and displeased about it. They also need to repent like how David did: “I have sinned against the Lord!”
Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart. And when God questioned him Job repented of speaking of things that he did not understand. We too need to repent of many such things.
Paul wrote: `Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” And David was someone who knew that when someone turned to God in repentance with a broken and contrite heart, it is a sacrifice acceptable to God and He will not despise it!