Practice Repentance

by Joanna Pierce on January 24, 2019

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you (Philippians 4:9, KJV).

More than I’m Sorry

In our culture today, we overuse the word sorry. Due to its overuse, we’ve lost the true meaning of the word. Many times when we say, “I’m sorry,” we’re really not sorry. A true apology that makes a difference is repentance (I John 1:5–10). Repentance is more than a one-time experience that is part of our conversion to follow Jesus. It continues on for believers every day. If this isn’t a part of our Christian walk, it can’t be right with God (Revelation 2:4–5)!

Embracing Repentance

We must continue to embrace repentance because we make mistakes continually. However, we have a hard time understanding repentance because we can’t clearly define sin. Sin is to miss the mark and not receive the associated prize (Heaven). Simply, sin is falling short. We need to know that even filled with the Holy Ghost, our actions, thoughts, and behaviors don’t always meet God’s expectations. Inevitably, sin will manifest even when we’re trying to follow Him!

Sin must be dealt with (Romans 7:19). Because sin cannot stay in our lives, God gave us the gift of repentance. With Jesus’ death on the cross and shedding of His blood, He became the propitiation (atonement or payment) for our sins. Today, He continues to pay for our mistakes (I John 2:1–2). Repentance helps us focus on living for Jesus and likens unto our safety net while we practice living right for God. The cross allows us to practice our walk with the potential for failure. It’s only through practicing repentance that will make us complete.

David’s Failures

David was a man after God’s own heart. Even still, he had major failures in his life: infidelity, murder, lies, betrayal, etc. We may question how could a man after God’s own heart make such large mistakes (sins)? David knew the mercies of God and, the key to recovery, and how to respond to God’s confrontation: with repentance. It’s God’s own goodness that brings us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Confrontation of David’s sin didn’t bring further rebellion, but conviction and repentance. Once he repented, he wrote Psalm 51, which noted 4 attitudes that embody the heart of sincere repentance.

4 Attitudes Necessary for True Repentance

Admittance

We need to be able to acknowledge mistakes. If we’re trying to appear right before others, this drives us to be dishonest with God. Instead, we need to acknowledge our sins before God and lay them bare before Him (Psalms 51:3). David recognized his rebellion before God and took ownership of it. We can’t justify the details of our actions that focus on the motive of our sin. Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a total failure. Remember, God doesn’t ask us to get rid of our sin, but to admit it.

Apologetic

When we apologize for something, we need to have the attitude of being truly sorry. David realized he had sinned against God (Psalms 51:4). While he had affected others, he understood where the core of his sin went—it hurt God’s heart. He needed to have a broken spirit and contrite heart full of real regret (Psalms 51:17). Worldly sorrow will bring shame and guilt; however, godly sorrow is when our heart responds correctly to the convicting power of the Holy Ghost. With godly-evoked sorrow, God will bring conversion in the believer and work repentance to salvation (II Corinthians 7:10).

About-Face

We need to turn 180° from our current behavior when we sin; there must be a desire for change within us! Repentance by definition is an inward change of mind that results in an outward change. Throughout Psalms 51 David described several themes showing a need for change in attitude and actions. Godly sorrow will help us change our direction and renew our commitment to fight sin in our life. Our confidence in ourselves and in God will be restored once we repent. He will help us begin our journey in a new direction!

Wasteless

Repentance fostered a realization in David: he didn’t want to “waste” or “miss” the lesson. Our mistakes will cost us something and we can’t act like they never happen; we must learn from them. If we try to forget them, we run the risk of making the same mistakes again. Sins are forgiven, but our mistakes will have consequences. David experienced the grace of forgiveness even though he had to suffer the consequences. In his situation, he lost his child. Because of this, David decided he would teach others God’s ways and help them learn from his mistakes (II Samuel 2:7–14). He became more careful in how he lived his life in the future so he didn’t do the same thing again. He modeled a changed life for us.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on January 23, 2019 with Pastor Nave