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Repentance


Scripture begins with the words,“In the beginning, God. . .” God, then, always existed and can be clearly seen throughout the creation (Romans 1:20). From the beginning, the implication is that we must repent for not seeing what is clear.

Jesus begins His public ministry with the words, “Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand. . .” This implies that in order to enter the kingdom, repentance must take place.

Throughout Scripture, we hear about the need for repentance, and how—after repentance—we are cleansed, our sin is covered, the scales fall from our eyes, we are able to move on, and our burden is lifted.

What is repentance? Why did God need such a drastic a measure as sending His Only Son to die on the cross? What are we repenting from?

In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.” Scripture also tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8-14; Acts 3:19). Acts 26:20 declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.

Repentance and faith can be understood as “two sides of the same coin.” It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about who He is and what He has done. Whether it is repentance of willful rejection or repentance of ignorance or disinterest of not seeing what is clear, the sin of unbelief is involved.

In Job 42:1-6, we hear “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

Our Lord is infinitely just and merciful. We are held accountable for only the things that are perfectly clear. The scales on our eyes need to be removed consistently, with an ever watchful eye for our own thoughts drifting into sinful places.

Have we only repented from fruit sins where we have been caught, or have we meditated on the Word of God and come to a repentance of the root sin, of failing to believe what is clear about our Lord? Our thoughts should be transforming our emotions. There is the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). What is important to God should become important to us.

Are the scales being removed from your eyes? Is your pathway to the cross well worn, and are you a different person from when you first began your journey? Could someone accuse you of being a believer in the one true God without you ever opening your mouth? Or are your words far from the reality of your life?

The image of Job, painted by Leon Bonnat in the 1880s, reflects the seriousness and utter dependence on God for mercy: the dark background, the use of light shining directly on Job’s body, stripped naked, helpless, in anguish and pain. It should be noted that Job is considered the most righteous man ever created and that all the questions posed by God to Job were questions about the creation. He asked about the power of the leviathan, the force of the winds, the raging or calmness of the sea, the height of the mountains, the way a bird flies; our creation screams at us to acknowledge the existence of the Creator God. General Revelation is what can be known of God throughout all history and time. If we seek Him, He will make Himself known.

Have you even begun your journey? Has seeing the magnificence of the Creator brought you to your knees and has the saving grace of the Son been revealed to you?

All People. All of Jesus.
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