Again, I am a drunkard. While passing down the street, I hear some Christian people teaching from the Bible. I realize I am a sinner; my drinking is sin. What do I do? Continue in my drinking? I now know it is sin. There is only one thing I can do. I must stop drinking and strive to help others to stop also. The jug is no longer my friend. I have repented.
Again, I am a fornicator. I love to chase women. I am always looking for a woman. I hear from the Bible that sex is only for a husband and wife. Any other sex is sin. What do I do? Do I keep myself to one girl friend? Do I stop having sex with any girl? I must stop. I understand that sex is only for a husband and his wife. Sex before completing marriage is sin. Even if my friends and family tell me it is okay, I know it is sin. It is evil to fornicate. Fornication is to have sex before I legally take my wife. I stop. I have repented.
My friends, you have seen three examples of repentance. God calls all of us to repent of our sins. Many people do not know what repentance is. Many believe repentance is when you feel sorrow or shame for sin, when you feel guilty. The Bible calls this godly sorrow. In 2 Corinthians 7:10 we read, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation..." If I say that family respect worketh (produces) good sons, what do I mean? If a son has respect for his family, he will be a good son. So, when we feel deep sorrow for sin it brings us to repentance. Sorrow is not the same as repentance just as family respect is not the same as a good son. Respect helps us to make a good son. Sorrow helps bring repentance.
What is repentance? It is to understand that I have sinned, to feel sorrow for that sin, and to stop or turn away from that sin. In Matthew 21:28-31, Jesus says, "But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not; but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir; and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father?"
In this story, Jesus tells us what repentance is. The first son said, "I will not go to the farm." He refused, but he then repented and went. You see, what he once refused to do, he then did. He changed his mind and his actions. He changed and did the right thing.
You now see why Jesus said in Matthew 3:2, "Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For people to find God's way, we must be willing to repent, to change from sin to goodness. The Bible says, "Let the wicked forsake his way... and let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him...and He will abundantly pardon. " (Isaiah 55:7) God promises to forgive all people if we will repent. Because if we repent, that means we accept God's will for our lives. The Bible says all of us are to repent because we all have sinned (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30). We are commanded, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38).
We must understand
repentance. Without repentance we cannot be saved. We cannot
serve two masters. Let us repent and serve God. Remember these words: "He
that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes
his sin shall have mercy." (Proverbs 28:13). Do you want mercy?