When we talk about repentance, many think that this is a topic for the unbelievers only. As Martin Luther has quoted when Jesus said we should ‘repent’, meaning that believers should live their whole lives for repentance. Bob Sorge is the man nicknamed, “The speaker who can’t talk” due to a major accident in 1992 that was responsible for his vocal cord injury. This experience has afforded him the opportunity capability to teach many about God’s purpose in fiery trials. He is the author of the book, “Secrets of the Secret Place” where he coined the phrase, “The Secret of Radical Rapid Repentance”. This is an address to Christians. He counseled that since the only way to move forward in God is through repentance, we must be good reenters being the key to a deep intimacy with our Heavenly Father.
The source of repentance and faith in Christ
Read Acts 20: 21, 3: 19, 17: 30, 2 Timothy 2: 19, Hebrews 6: 1
Every physical structure needs a foundation. Just as a strong foundation is crucial to every enduring structure, so thus the acknowledgment of sinners’ helpless, sinful, and in need of God’s mercy for pardon. Read Romans 7: 24; and Psalm 51: 3. This brings repentance through godly sorrows and faith in the stoning blood of Jesus that ushers in the repentant sinner to genuine salvation in Christ. (Romans 10: 10-14)
Repentance is the turning away from sin in true sorrow, to God through faith in Christ’s atoning blood. It involves a change of master, from sin and Satan to Jesus Christ and his word. Genuine repentance is always accompanied by fruits of righteousness.
It is not a decision based on emotion only, emotion is certainly an important part (Acts 2: 37), but a decision to sincerely obey God through faith in Jesus Christ. Christ’s righteousness becomes ours through faith in and from Him (Philippians 3: 8-9; Romans 8: 1-4). Faith in Christ, on the other hand, is God’s requirement for receiving his gift of salvation. It is a firm belief and trust in Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.
Faith in Christ involves the following:
- Total surrender to Christ
- Repentance from sin
- Believing with your whole heart
- Obedience to Christ and His Word
- A heartfelt personal devotion and attachment to Christ
Repentance and faith in Christ therefore is the foundation of a new life in Christ. And this foundation cannot be jettisoned by all who want to get to heaven.
The promise and people for repentance with faith in Christ
Read Acts 3: 19, Isaiah 55: 6, 1: 18; 59: 12; John 13: 16, Romans 10: 9-11.
Salvation in Christ is for all who believe. Jews and Gentiles are therefore the people for repentance and faith in Christ. More so, the Bible says that all people have sinned and they have come short of God’s glory. Everyone who seeks to build an enduring spiritual life, an edifice of God’s habitation and glory, must “repent”, be converted, and have their sins “blotted out”. The scripture is replete with God’s promises to pardon all that repent. Read Jeremiah 33: 8; Isaiah 1: 18; 55: 6-7_. As in the time of old, God is still calling all men to repentance, young and old, sinners and backsliders alike.
The purity and proclamation after repentance and faith in Christ
Read Luke 1: 74-70; 1 Corinthians 7: 1; 1 John 3: 1-3; Hebrews 6: 1.
God has made provision not just for your salvation through repentance and faith in Christ alone, but also to make us pure and holy unto him (1 Thessalonians 5: 23). After repentance and faith in Christ therefore, believers must not remain stagnant, but move on to purity-perfecting holiness in the fear of God. The salvation experience in Christ that brings joy and peace with God and man also leads the recipient to declare and express the mercy of God received unto others like the psalmist. Read Psalm 51: 13; 2 Corinthians 5: 17-20; 1 Peter 2: 9, Acts 2: 41-47)
Faith in Christ Jesus as our Savior is both the act of a single moment and a continuing attitude that must grow and be strengthened by righteous and holy living. Also, separation from the world, commitment and conservation, obedience, preaching of the gospel, and daily communion with Christ cannot be compromised. The power for effective proclamation has been made available through Christ to expand His kingdom on earth for all who are purified.
The power and preaching of repentance and faith in Christ Jesus
Read Luke 24: 46-49; Acts 1: 8, Mathew 28: 18-20; Mark 16: 15-17, 20; Acts 20: 21; 2: 37-41; 4: 31.
To work with and for God demands nothing but His power for enablement. The primary purpose of the baptism in the Holy Ghost is the receiving of power to witness for Christ so that the lost will be won over to him and taught to obey all that Christ commanded. The Holy Ghost in believers is not for earthly commercialization. It is to witness to sinners, warm them of the impending judgment of God, win them for Christ, the war for their souls’ conversion, make them worthy for heaven, worship God by their life and all their God-given resources in the will of God.
The power is still available today but we must tarry in his presence through prayer. Read Luke 24: 49, if our preaching must be effective like that of the apostles in a way that multitude will be saved. Read Acts 2: 37, 38, 3: 11, 12, 19, 7: 54.
There is also a need for fresh filling apart from the initial experience of baptism in the Holy Ghost. Read Acts 4: 30. This will enable us to overcome the continuing opposition to the gospel. Conclusively, obedience to the great commission is demanded by God from all who are saved. Believers cannot receive his power and sit down; we must go therefore and preach repentance and faith in Christ to a sin-infected world.
What some church leaders said about repentance
- David Wilkerson, pastor of the ‘Times Square Church’ New York, of blessed memory, explained that today, the preaching on repentance has almost disappeared; it is too offensive to many churches. Entire denominations have de-emphasized it.
- A prince preacher called Charles Spurgeon said that Christians cannot enter the kingdom without the saving faith and they cannot have the saving faith without repentance… Sin and hell are married until repentance proclaims their divorce”.
- General William Booth of the Salvation Army explained that a sinner cannot truly believe until he repents.
- Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo (5th century) declared, “No one can begin a new life unless he repents of the old”. Thomas Watson a 17th-century English Puritan preacher and author, declared that, “The two great graces essential to a saint in this life are repentance and faith. The following are two wings by which he flies to Heaven”.
- Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor, was named an anti-Nazi theologian. He ran a Seminary for the “Confessing Church” in Germany which was shut down by Hitler. He was preparing for his engagement when Hitler arrested him accusing him of a plan to overthrow the German government.
He was sentenced to death and hanged in April 1945. Before he was executed, he had written many books in prison. The last was titled, “Lack of repentance is the root cause of powerlessness in the church. Child of God, a church leader who is living in sin and refuses to repent is on a suicide mission.
At the beginning of 1900, William Booth of the Salvation Army said that the chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, forgiveness without repentance, and Heaven without Hell.
The road to repentance
Acknowledge wrongdoing or self-confession, admit that you are wrong, express regret or sorrow for sin, determine to change, ask for forgiveness, and turn from your sin. What leads to repentance? It is the rich kindness of God through His immeasurable grace. Rom. 2: 4. The thief on the cross repented by changing his mind, attitude, and behavior toward Jesus Christ. He called Him Lord and professed faith in Him.
Child of God, once your heart tells you that you have sinned against our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, repent immediately; tell Him that you are sorry. Several homes have been broken because no one is ready to say, “I am sorry”. Jesus is greater than our earthly father.