Repentance. It’s what we, as Christians, are told is needed in order for us to enter Heaven. But, why do we need to repent?
What is Repentance?
Repentance is admitting that you’re are a sinner — recognizing that the direction your life is heading is wrong. So, you turn around — do a 180. You turn to God. Start following Jesus and there’s no turning back.
Repentance in the New Testament
The word “repent”, or a variation of, is found 53 times in the New Testament (New Living Translation–NLT). Don’t worry, I’m not going to list all 53 them, but you can look them up easily on Bible Gateway. Here are just a few of my favorites. The first one found in the book of Matthew when John the Baptist — the “voice shouting in the wilderness” — says…
“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”Matthew 3:2
There are 25 versions of the word “repent” or “repentance” in the just the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
After Jesus’ resurrection, at the Feast of Pentecost when the disciples and Mary received the Holy Spirit, Peter gave his first sermon explaining who Jesus was, why he came and what was coming in the future. Peter spoke to about 3000 people in Jerusalem…
Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”Acts of the Apostles 3:37-39
By the way, 3000 people that day were saved! Repentance is also found many times in the letters of Paul, Peter and in the Book of Revelation.
Scripture — the Bible — it’s God’s Holy Word
Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3…
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17
If you believe this, then there’s something you need to take note of — when something is repeated over and over again in the Bible — it’s something that God REALLY wants us to grasp and understand. Don’t you agree?
Repentance Isn’t Easy
I have to admit total repentance for me wasn’t easy. Even after I said the prayer and was baptized, there were still one or two things that I found difficult to let go of in this world. Without getting into detail — it stemmed around selfishness. It wasn’t until I surrendered my whole life to Jesus did I finally feel free. That guilty feeling — the conviction of the Holy Spirit in my heart — was finally gone. (I tell about my personal testimony in the first 3 episodes of my podcast.)
Thinking back to when I was a Catholic, I was never free from sin. It seemed like it was OK to sin as long as you confessed it to the priest on Saturdays so you could receive communion at Mass on Sundays. That, my friends, is NOT salvation. That is very similar to what the God required of the Israelites back in the Old Testament — they had to do sacrifices in front of the priests regularly to atone for their sins. These were the laws that Jesus came to fulfill.
At the cross, Jesus said, “I thirst.” And one of the Roman soldiers gave him a sponge with vinegar.
When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.John 19:13
When Jesus said, “It is finished!”, he meant that people not longer had to go through the priests for sacrificing and atonement of their sins. Jesus was the last and ultimate sacrifice as his blood washed all our sins away. The moment he died, the curtain in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. No one but the special priests were allowed into the “Holy of Holies” where God was in the Temple. The tearing of that curtain meant that we no longer had to go through a priest to get to God, we could now just go through Jesus. They whole book of Hebrews explains this.
If you sincerely want Jesus’ true salvation and your place in Heaven, then you MUST believe, repent and be baptized!
That is the truth. Again, you don’t have to take my word for it. Read it in the Gospels. It’s the Gospel Truth.