The term repentance means to reverse oneself completely, to have a change of heart. In this case, it means to quit sinning. For sure, one could not hope to be what the Lord would have him to be unless he was willing to lay down his sins and have a change of life.

Jesus Christ put it simply, “I tell you, Nay: but , except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). In other words, repent or perish. Does this mean that it makes no difference with the Lord whether one repents or perishes? No, for it certainly does make a difference. Peter, said, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but if one refuses to repent, then he will perish”. In the book of Ezekiel 18:32, the Lord said, “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves and live ye.” Therefore, it is up to the individual. In speaking on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22) Paul said, “Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.” (v. 30). Paul made it clear that God would have all men to repent. He said, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” One cannot say that the Lord has not asked him to repent, for he has. He has even commanded this of us.

One cannot be so good that he needs not repent and one cannot be so evil that he cannot repent if he so desires. All people, regardless of what kind of life they live, have sinned and are therefore in need of salvation. Paul declared, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23). And even as a Christian John writes, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

The article does not talk about Christians, but about what the sinner must do to be saved, who has found that he must repent of his sins, after he has gained faith in God. We have seen that one must hear the truth, and then believe the truth, it will be shown that he must confess in the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized. But right now in the middle of all this, one must repent. To give an example, Peter told the people on the day of Pentecost that they should do this very thing. “Then Peter said unto them. Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). To another group of people he said, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Now what do we have? We have this command being given to the people to repent, it was of God and therefore necessary for salvation.

In every case of conversion in the book of Acts you will find it stated either directly or implied, that before the people were baptized they repented of their sins. So it is today that before one is baptized he must repent. Of course one may be immersed without genuinely repenting but he is only fooling himself. The Lord knows his heart and if he doesn’t repent, there is no forgiveness of sins and no salvation. One must be so sorry for their sins that they will want to quit them and live a better life. (2 Cor. 7:10) “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” But it is not enough just to be sorry about one’s sins, one must actually leave them behind, replace them with righteous acts, otherwise the old sins will return. Kindly read Gal.5:19-24, Eph. 4:24-29.

Repentance alone will not save. One may quit sinning and live a good life, but unless he has obeyed the other commandments of God, he is still a sinner. One may repent of his sin, complete his obedience to the gospel and live the Christian life for a while but then slip back into sin. What will happen to him?

Unless he repents again and returns to the Lord through prayer he will be lost as though he never repented in the first place. (Read 2 Peter 2:20-22). It is easy to do right if you remember that by failing to do what the Lord says you are gambling with your soul. Sin will damn you, but righteousness will save you. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:23). Remember, too, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal.6:7-9).

“John the Baptist, came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt.3:1-2). “Likewise also Jesus from that time began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt.4:17). This is a very great warning to us all, so man ought to repent from his evil ways. Mark 1:14-15 says, “Jesus came into Galilee…and saying, The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Mark 6:12 says “And they went out and preached that men should repent. “

While the days are approaching for the Kingdom to be set up by the Lord Jesus Christ, there is time for each of us to repent so that we may beincluded inthat Kingdom.

Bro. Joseph Oppong (Shama Junction, Ghana)

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