By Randy Cavender
Jesus said in Luke 13:3,5, “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Repentance is demanded of those who would come to God. According to the Lord, if one is not willing to repent, he will be lost. I am afraid that many overlook this command that Christ has given. Some do not know what it means, and it is rarely demanded of sinners anymore. Thus, what is repentance? It is important? Should it be demanded of those who are in sin?
Let us begin with defining repentance. Repentance is “to have another mind” (Young’s Analytical Concordance); “to change one’s mind, used esp. of those who, conscious of their sins and with manifest tokens of sorrow, are intent on obtaining God’s pardon, to change one’s mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins” (Thayer). Thus, when one repents he has changed his mind from serving sin, to serving God. This repentance is produced by godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:8-10). As one changes his mind this leads to a changed life in which he serves God (Lk. 3:8; Matt. 21:28-30). Let us accept what the New Testament teaches us concerning repentance and apply it to our lives.
Is repentance important? You be the judge! Jesus said, “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” When preaching to the Athenians, Paul taught that God, “now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). In Peter’s second epistle he reminded his readers that God, “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). The inescapable conclusion is this: if one does not repent, he cannot be saved. This is exactly what the New Testament writers were conveying to our minds. To deny the importance of repentance is foolish indeed. We should just accept the fact that God expects his people to follow all of his commandments.
Should repentance be demanded of sinners? Most assuredly, yes! Jesus, in giving the Great Commission, told the apostles that they were to preach the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15). In Luke’s account of the Commission, Jesus said, “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Lk. 24:47). In keeping with the will of God we must preach to sinners that they must repent. In keeping with this command of the Son of God the apostle Peter said, “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 2:38; 3:19). It is increasingly evident that we have not taught people that they must repent of their sins in that they are “baptized” and still remain in their sins. Paul dealt with this problem by asking, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom. 6:1-2) When people truly repent they change their minds concerning sin and then, as a result, they practice righteousness.
Kind friend, Jesus said, “unless you repent you shall all likewise perish.” The choice is yours, you can repent or perish. Have you repented of your sins?
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 1, p. 19
January 7, 1993