"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." John 17:17

Repentance - Lesson 1

Author: Pastor John Niehaus

  You have probably heard 2 Pet. 3:9 used as a prayer promise for a lost soul's salvation. In order for anyone to be SAVED, they must come to a place of REPENTANCE (Acts 20:20-21; 2 Tim. 2:25-26). The prominence given to the doctrine of repentance in the Scriptures can hardly be overstated.

• John the Baptist preached it - Matt. 3:1-2
• The Lord Jesus Christ preached it - Matt. 4:17
• The Twelve preached it - Mk. 6:12

  Peter preached repentance in Acts 2 and Paul preached it as late as Acts 20, demonstrating to us that progressive revelation in the Bible did not eliminate the need for preaching of this all-important doctrine.

  The burden of the heart of God in His one command to all men everywhere, is that they should repent (2 Pet. 3:9; Acts 17:30). Indeed, failure on the part of man to heed God's call to repentance means that he shall utterly perish (Lk. 13:3)

  In spite of the emphasis that God's word lays on repentance, we find that it is a very misunderstood and seldom preached doctrine.


I. What Is Repentance?

"Sorrow for any thing done or said; the pain or grief which a person experiences in consequences of the injury or inconvenience produced by his own conduct. In theology, the pain, regret or affliction which a person feels on account of his past conduct, because it exposes him to punishment. This sorrow proceeding merely from the fear of punishment, is called legal repentance, as being excited by the terrors of legal penalties, and it may exist without an amendment of life. Real pentence ; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of His holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life."

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

The Nature of True Repentance Is Threefold:
  1. It involves the intellect.

The son in Matt. 21:29 changed his MIND about his unwillingness to work in his father's vineyard. When Peter, on the day of Pentecost, called upon the Jews to repent (Acts 2:14-40), he virtually called upon them to change their minds and their views regarding Christ. They had considered Christ to be a mere man, a blasphemer, an impostor.

  2. It involves the emotions.

In 2 Cor. 7:7-11 we find that real repentance will bring about an emotional response. Just how much emotion is necessary to true repentance no one can definitely say. But that a certain amount of heart movement, even though it be not accompanied with a flood of tears, or even a single tear, accompanies all true repentance is evident from Scripture. See also Ps. 38:18; Lk. 18:13-14; Matt. 25:75. It is equally true that repentance can be feigned through a shower of tears. See Heb. 12:15-17.

  3. It involves the will.

To repent is "to turn"(Lk. 15:18-20). The prodigal CONFESSED his sin(Lk. 15:21), FORSOOK HIS SIN(Isa. 55:7; Prov. 28:13), and TURNED from his sin (1 Thess. 1:9; Acts 26:18). Therefore, real repentance will cause a sinner to TAKE ACTION in direct contrast to the former actions of sins that are being repented of.


II. How Is Repentance Produced?

Only God can grant repentance to anyone (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25), and yet He uses certain MEANS TO AFFECT this repentance(Acts 5:30-31). Therefore, nobody receives repentance passively without an act of the will by the penitent, after God has used some means to persuade the penitent to that point:

1. The preaching of the gospel itself can affect repentance - Rom. 1:16-17; 1 Thess. 1:5-10.
2. The preaching of the gospel can affect the judgement of God on sin - Jonah 3:5-10.
3. The goodness of God - Rom. 2:4; 1 Pet. 3:9.
4. The chastisements of God - Heb. 126,10,11; Rev. 3:19.
5. The reproof of another Christian - 2 Tim. 2:24-25; Gal. 6:1.


III What Are The Results of Repentance?

JOY IN HEAVEN(Lk. 15:7,10), notice that the joy is in the presence of "the   angels of God." Could this be an indication that departed loved ones are   aware of those getting saved?

PARDON AND FORGIVENESS(Isa. 55:7; Acts 3:19; Isa. 1:18). Outside of   repentance the prophets and apostles know of no way of securing pardon.   No sacrifices, nor religious ceremonies can secure it. Not that repentance   merits forgiveness, but it is a condition of it. Repentance qualifies a man   for a pardon, but it does not entitle him to it.

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