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What does repentance mean? Why should I repent?

What does repentance mean? Why should I repent?

Repentance means “the action of repenting; sincere regret or remorse.” Countries have laws and if someone disobeys them, they are guilty and will be punished. It is hoped that they will realize they have done wrong and will not repeat the crime. In the Christian sense, this is what God is looking for too. Most people though, consider themselves good citizens, who have never committed a crime against the law of their country or God, so they ask why should I repent? What do I need to repent of?

In Romans 3:23 God says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” He created us and gave us laws and rules to live by so that we would “have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). For most people of the world this is not their experience. There may be times of happiness and joy but continually experiencing an abundant life evades them.

Listening to, reading or watching the news should convince everyone that evil is present everywhere. This is the result of people ignoring God’s plan for us, but He has opened a way for us to return to Him and for our lives to return to life as He planned it.

God’s plan

Throughout the Old Testament God reveals His plan. To begin with He taught the people, that when they realize they had displeased God, they need to repent, and bring a sacrifice of a lamb to prove their repentance, and it was accepted by God. God was pointing to His final plan and that was a sacrifice that would take away sin, once and for all, and there wouldn’t need to be a repeat of the sacrifices again and again.

In the New Testament we learn that the Lamb God had in mind was Jesus. God, Himself born as a man. He was crucified and God saw this as a punishment for all the sins people had committed. We learn that Christ died for us from 1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” There are many other verses that say the same and explain it more fully.

Repent of our sin

God asks us to repent of our sin, our rebellion against Him. We may still maintain that we are good people and have not sinned, but in Exodus chapter 20 God gave us His 10 commandments. Most of them we may think we do already, but the first one in verse 3 “You shall have no other God but me” is one that all of us fall short of. In fact God says in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God“.

This is why we need to repent. We need to recognize that we have disobeyed God and pleased ourselves very often, we have had things that are more important in our lives than God. Jesus said the greatest commandment was “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22: 37). Everyone of us is guilty of this. 1 John 1: 9 says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness“.

When we confess that we have failed God, He will forgive and as a result of this, He adopts us into His family and we will begin to have a relationship with Him. We will begin to experience the abundant life He promised. He will prepare a place in heaven for us (John 14) and He will send us His Holy Spirit to help us to obey Him, and live a life that pleases God.

Did you confess God your mistakes, your sin? Did you receive a new life?

How does this Bible teaching speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!

Also read Where does sin come from?

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Eunice Burden

Eunice Burden

Eunice comes from UK and has been in Thailand 25 years. She and a Thai co-worker wrote a 4 year curriculum for all age Sunday Schools and they also did Sunday school teacher training seminars. She went back to UK for 8 years. Whilst in UK she did various courses including a theology degree and came back to Thailand with OMF in 1999. For most of her time since then she has been involved teaching lay leaders of the Thai, supporting and advising, speaking and teaching in various churches. Gradually over the years she has been invited to join various facilitator teams of the OMF.

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What does repentance mean? Why should I repent?