FOLKS, I BORROWED THIS; HOPE YOU DON'T MIND; I THINK IT REALLY TELLS US THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SUBJECT.
Repentance Means Change
By Bill Denton
"But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely
hearers who delude themselves" (James 1:22,NAU).
Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs
improvement; he is a rebel who must lay down his arms ...
This process of surrender-this movement full speed astern-
is what Christians call repentance. Now repentance is no
fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating
humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and
self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands
of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind
of death. - C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
There is a mistaken view running around in the minds of
many Christians. It' s the view that repentance is being
sorry for sin, apologizing for things done wrong, and seeking
forgiveness. None of those things should be criticized, but
none of them are repentance.
Repentance is a change of mind. It is an inner turning of
thought, desires and will away from sin toward that which
is godly. It is a turning away from the 'world' and turning
to God, but it is a conscious, purposeful act. No one repents
by accident, and no one repents who fails to change their
But, it is not enough to say that repentance is a change
of mind, for an effective change of mind has an obvious
and outward result. A man or woman who changes their
mind about involvement in some sin, cannot think the same
way about that sin. That which did not seem to bother them
before, now becomes an intense source of guilt. Behavior
that previously was ignored, defended, excused, justified,
now becomes behavior that simply will not do.
People who repent are people who learn how to act
differently. It is this understanding of repentance that
many in our modern world do not understand. Too many
who claim to wear the name of Jesus seem to think that
such a claim does not, or should not, have any practical
claim on their lives. No wonder so many Christians are
weak-kneed, struggling and faithless people.
Repentance does not mean that a sin committed previously
will never rear its ugly head again. It does mean that the
practices of life once acceptable to a person are no longer
so. It means that the person has a whole new mindset about
those things. It means that there is a conscious effort to change.
It means there is a purposeful effort to live a different way, do
John the Baptist put it bluntly, but truthfully, to those who
came to be baptized but who had evidently failed to understand
exactly what it was he called them to. "Therefore bear fruits
in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves,
'We have Abraham for our father,' for I say to you that from these
stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham" (Luke 3:8,
NAU). Today's analogy would be those who say, "But, I'm a
Christian," only to continue behaving in unacceptable ways.
The call to repent is a call to think and live differently. It's not
merely being sorry, it's not even asking forgiveness. Repentance
means change, beginning with the mind and ending with actions.
© Copyright 2002, Dr. Bill Denton
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