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A Call to Repentance

Jul 23, 2004 03:40 AM EDT

Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. "You are witnesses of these things. "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:44-49 NASB)

"This time I mean it!" After halfheartedly correcting their sons and daughters several times, parents often react with these words. Children can distinguish the underlying meaning and intuitively know when Mom or Dad is ready to take action.

In a similar way, our confession of sin to the Lord can be halfhearted. When convicted by the Holy Spirit, we will often tell God how sorry we are. If we have to tell Him several times, we might add that this time we really mean it. But, because we have not sincerely repented, our sin continues unabated. The Lord does not consider such a confession to be genuine repentance.

Biblical repentance starts by agreeing with God that what He calls sin in our lives is sin and should be removed. When we see the ugliness of our iniquity as God does, we will experience godly sorrow. Repentance reflects a change of heart that results in action—an adjustment of direction or behavior. Once we understand that our wrongdoing distresses our Father, we will be compelled to turn our backs on that sin, walk away from it through the power of the Holy Spirit, and replace it with God-pleasing ways.

Does this mean that Satan is going to leave us alone? Not at all. Temptations to sin will still be present. So, if we fail, we are to genuinely repent again—in other words, we are to agree with God, set our mind to reflect His viewpoint, and draw on the Holy Spirit's power to walk away from the sin. He's the one who can give us the victory!

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