“But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong”. I John 1:9 CEB
When we really repent, we turn from our sins and we continue to turn from them. There are many places in the Bible where even believers in God are called upon to repent.
Repentance involves sorrow for our sins and for our sinful ways. However it also involves a sorrow that will cause us to change these ways. Esau was sorrowful and he wept bitterly but his ways were not changed and he did not receive the promise. (Heb. 12:16-17)
The Bible tells us that there is a sorrow of this world that leads to death and a godly sorrow that leads to repentance and salvation. (II Cor. 7:10)
It seems much repentance, today, is not of the godly sort, people often repent only because they get caught in their sins or they repent for other selfish reasons.
As one old preacher said, “A lot of our repentance needs to be repented of.”
It is of utmost importance that we repent of these sins of which the Holy Spirit is convicting us of. If we refuse and cover our sins the Bible assures us they will be brought to light.
God desires that our hearts become broken over our sins.
Repentance is more than turning away from sin. It is a positive turning towards God and His Kingdom.
One of the most amazing stories of repentance is the story of the Prodigal Son. In his selfishness and rebellion he squandered his inheritance by living carelessly in a foreign land. He finally came to the end of himself and his resources and found himself in a pigpen eating with the pigs.
In that pigpen he had a change of heart. He turned from his rebellion and selfishness and he turned towards home to his father. (Luke 15:20)
God is longing for everyone to repent in the same way as the Prodigal Son.
True repentance often involves restitution. That’s something we can learn from Israel. The broken relationships with other people must be mended if repentance is sincere. Often we cannot just say that we are sorry or just privately confess it to God and expect restoration. We need to ask forgiveness and show by our actions that there is a real and permanent change in our attitudes.
“God overlooks ignorance of these things in times past, but now directs everyone everywhere to change their hearts and lives”. Acts 17:30 CEB