“Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. ” Revelations 3:3.
Repent is not a popular term. It denotes our wrong doing. To repent is to feel sorrow or regret something that we did. In fact, repentance is one of the main themes of the Bible. It is spoken of 68 times between Numbers and Revelations. “I”, Donna Warren, can tell you to repent of your sins and you would probably look at me like I had lost my mind. Who am I to tell you to repent? Jesus began His ministry in Galilee preaching “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17. In fact, John the Baptist came preaching “Repent, the kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Matthew 3:2 as well.
Sadly for many, the offer of the Kingdom of Heaven was rejected. Sadly, John the Baptist was sent to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah and was counted as having a demon and Jesus Himself was counted as a glutton and winebibber by the Pharisees (Matthew 11:18-19). Hypocrites will condemn any course of action while seeking to justify their actions and reject the truth. Hypocrites tend to propagate certain parts of religion for personal gain instead of for the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Repent, the kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” How do you know what to repent of when you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong? (Well, you can start there…but we’ll continue on.) If you are a good person, work hard and do right, what do you have to repent of? You have been “good” all of your life and can’t catch a break. Perhaps, you truly don’t know what to repent of.
Then there are those who don’t feel repentance is necessary once we are saved. We are forgiven of all of our sins and they are tossed into the sea of forgetfulness, which is true. However, this doctrine also teaches that any conviction of the Holy Spirit is actually condemnation from the devil. This rejection of conviction causes one to sin freely. The very same conviction one feels upon salvation is the same conviction rejected to overcome the sin nature. This is the very reason Christ went to the Cross, to give us dominion over sin nature not to enable us to sin. Many refer to this as hyper grace which, after centuries of legalism in the church, would also portray the Christian as a hypocrite to the world.
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? ” Romans 2:4.
There are three things that God uses to lead us to repentance; His goodness, forbearance and longsuffering. The Lord ‘s goodness is witnessed with every good thing we have been given or encountered in this lifetime, including the breath we take. His forbearance is the self restraint He shows in allowing us time to live in order to be saved. Lastly but certainly not least is the Lord’s patience with us, which is His mercy and grace to us, in hopes of us accepting His plan for eternal reconciliation to Himself, Jesus Christ. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.
Revival of the church and souls getting saved because of the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus is what leads one to repentance. The understanding of Jesus’ perfection and God’s perfect plan is what reflects ones true state and causes not just profession of repentance but proof of repentance as well. The “good people” who don’t know what to repent of realize God’s goodness through the Gospel of Jesus. The hyper grace doctrine is shown the Blood that is being trampled through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus. Instead of running from repentance, we should embrace repentance. The Lord, through His longsuffering, forbearance and goodness is willing to show us why we must repent. Through His Gospel we are equipped with the understanding of our need to repent. The Lord’s righteousness puts our self righteousness into perspective upon the revelation of His grace and mercy. – Donna Warren