“‘Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God.’” Joel 2:12-13
The first word of the first sentence of the first sermon Jesus ever preached on earth was this: “Repent.” Repentance is a key not only to our salvation but also to continuous victory over sin as we live for Christ each day. Repentance is more than simply acknowledging our sin—knowing that we did something against God. And it’s also more than remorse. We can know we did something wrong and feel bad about it, and still not repent.
Repentance is not a feeling or a regret. Repentance is an action, a sincere and intentional turning away from sin as a result of an understanding that it was wrong. The word repent in the New Testament is the Greek word, metanoia, which is a compound word with two meanings—of time and change, which may be denoted by after and different. So the whole compound means to think differently after. Metanoia is therefore primarily an after-thought that is different from the former-thought. It is a change of mind and change of conduct or a change of mind and heart.
The Bible’s teaching on repentance is a radical turn from one way of life to another. With our sin, regardless of how we came to repentance, true repentance must result in a definitive change. It may include sorrow, regret, and remorse - these feelings are consistent with a heart that desires to turn away from sin - but true repentance is an action. When it comes to sin in your own life, as you discover it, or it is uncovered, do you repent from it? In Christ, you can.
God, right now, I repent of my sin. I turn away from those things that I know are against You and Your Word. I choose to turn my head and heart from that which I know displeases You and instead pursue Your way in those areas of life where I am tempted and have given in to the temptation to disobey You. Forgive me, and help me to live for You in every facet of my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.