You hear the word. You believe what you heard — that you are a sinner and can only be saved through the blood of Jesus. Are you ready to turn from sin and turn to Jesus? Are you ready to live the rest of your life following Him? Will you repent?
Belief and repentance necessarily go hand in hand. They are so intertwined that it’s difficult to make a distinction between the two. When you believe, you are persuaded by the evidence and are ready to place your trust in Jesus to do whatever He asks you to do; thus this change of heart means you are ready to change your course in life which is what it means to repent.
To repent is simply to make a choice to do differently. Some would say it’s making a 180° turn in the opposite direction away from sin towards following after righteousness. This is what Jesus is asking us to do in regards to sin when he instructs us to repent.
There is no shortage of scriptures that mention repentence. Man turning from sin and turning back to God is one of the main themes of the bible. Time and time again God pleads for His people to turn back to Him in the Old Testament and Jesus and His disciples continue this plea in the New Testament. (Ezekiel 14:6, Isaiah 1:27-28, Matthew 4:17, Acts 2:38)
Those pleas are only answered when someone’s heart is sorrowful for their wrongdoing and is ready to do whatever it takes to change course. This is what we can see happening with the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.
Here we have the story of a son that has all the comforts and blessings a person could want, yet he desires to seek out worldly pleasures so he did just that. With money in his hand and nothing stopping him, he left the comforts of home and thrust himself into a world of prodical living — aka sin. But it doesn’t last long. Living the high life and squandering money eventually always ends in the same place – alone, broke, and desperate. This is where the healing begins.
The son knew there was something better, yet he also knew his prodical living made him unworthy to be treated as a son to his father. With deep sorrow in his heart and a willingness to accept the lowliest of positions, he turns away from his sin and returns to his father, admitting his wrong and begging him to at least make him a hired servant. The son repents. And with that heartfelt repentence, the father has compassion on him and a big celebration is held in the son’s honor. However, the older brother who had been living “by the book” was confused and angry. Why should his father celebrate a person that wasted everything they had been given? The father answered so beautifully, “It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:32)
Every single person is lost and needs to be found. Maybe you’re not a rich son that squanders your inheritance, but you have in some way sought out worldly pleasures and turned away from your Creator. We all have and the way to get out of it is to realize that there is a better way and to commit yourself to that better way. The way out is to repent.
To be saved you must repent, but since repentence requires committing yourself to a better way, will you stop there? Will you take the other necessary steps to be saved like confess? Confess will be the topic of the next blog post. Stay tuned.