When I think about the history of the Christian Faith, repentance of sin was a big part of the Christian Faith. But when I talk to Christians these days I hear a lot about believing in Jesus, working for God but not very much about repentance of sin. I think this important because in order for us to be sanctified and made more holy we have to first repent. The first step is always repentance. Similar Jesus was very clear that we should focus on the internal state of our hearts more than our external actions.
This is how I see it. Without repentance you cannot receive grace and forgiveness. Without receiving grace/forgiveness you are not allowing the Holy Spirit to transform you inner heart. Without a transformed heart any external acts of faith or work for God’s kingdom are meaningless. It all starts with repentance of sin so that we can receive the grace offered by Jesus.
It’s like Jesus is offering you a free gift but you have to first acknowledge your need for the gift and second acknowledge your only means of receiving the gift is through Jesus death. Your acknowledgement of your need for the gift offered by Jesus is the first step of repentance.
For some reason I have a hard time defining what repentance means. For I get disturbing images of people hurting themselves as proof that they have repented. Or people inflicting some type of self punishment as means of showing their remorse. That IS NOT REPENTANCE. But what is repentance?
Repentance is the entire process of recognizing the sin, confessing the sin, turning from the sin to walk in freedom. Jesus wants to offer his grace but in order to receive his grace we must repent.
This is not a one time process for it is over time that God works in our hearts and will convict us of sin. Thus part of living as a Christian is being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s revealing to you your own sin so that you can go through the process of repentance. To me this is what it means to live a life of repentance. This is the foundation and the starting point in which all else is built.