Title: Repentance And The Christian.
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Just as sin is a common act constantly in reference by Christian ministers and leaders when attempts are being made to re-connect a Christian who has backslided to the Almighty God or winning over a non-Christian to the Lord, repentance is also equally important as a pre-requisite for receiving such grace. Infact, it is practically impossible to complete a ministration on sin without making reference to repentance. This is because, whereas sin is an act that takes human beings away from the Almighty God, repentance is an important step in the process of reconciling such an individual with the Lord. This act of repentance involves the taking of a number of steps, which although are not clearly defined but must be taken for repentance to be genuine and be acceptable.
Forgiveness which is the ultimate objective of the act repentance is the graceful act of the Almighty God to overlook the transgression of an individual such that the individual is able to avoid the penalty despite such deserving to be so penalised. It is done despite the Almighty God being a sovereign God whose decision if He does decide to penalise such an individual cannot be questioned or reversed. However, this grace is not just dispensed as there is a pre-requisite to be met by the one that desires such grace which is for such to sincerely and genuinely repent.
Repentance which is the noun of the verb “to repent” is the feeling or expression of regret about ones action. Being an action, it must be visible to all but more importantly, it must be genuine which means that there must be sincerity by the one that claims to be repenting. The act may be visible to man but the most important personality that is in consideration when Christian repentance is the focus is the Almighty God who has not only the ability to see the physical act of repentance but also the sincerity of the act 1Kgs. 8:39; 1Chr. 28:9; 1Sam. 16:7. He it is that will also decide whether the act of repentance merits forgiveness or not. This is why it is important that the one that seeks forgiveness from the Lord should not simply make verbal statements or only put up physical actions that give the impression that such is repentant, but must also be very sincere about such an actions or pronouncements. It is therefore comical when Christians or anyone for that matter is told to repent in order to receive forgiveness and what is seen is an outward display of actions that give the impression of repentance with no sincerity of purpose. The truth is that repentance is, and should always be a product of inner conviction. The following are necessary considerations that the one that claims to be repentant must observe.
The one who is genuinely repentqnt must have;
- Identified an act or acts that run foul of the instructions of the Almighty God which he/she has committed. It is simply impossible to be asking for forgiveness for no act of transgression. It may be true that there are acts that may have been committed unknowingly but to claim ignorance even after committing such act is unacceptable. Ignorance is not an acceptable excuse with the Lord. The one that is seeking forgiveness must be able to recall those acts of transgressions before seeking forgiveness for them else the basis of repentance will be faulty. It will be simply impossible for an individual to promise not to repeat an act that he/she is not aware of committing or consider as a wrong act. The sin for which repentance is sought must be identified and acknowledged as sin by the individual.
- Such must be aware of the extent of damage and pain that such an act of indiscretion has caused the Almighty God and other people. Again it is impossible to have any feeling of remorse if the pain or damage caused by such act is not known to the one that transgressed. The scriptures says that when we sin after receiving forgiveness, we are nailing Jesus to the cross again – Heb. 6:4-6. This will mean nothing to the one who does not even know the pain and humiliation that Jesus went through on the cross to save mankind from having to pay the wages of sin which is spiritual death. This is just as such acts of transgressions can also cause physical pain to human victims of such acts and it will be impossible to feel appropriately remorseful if the pain and damage caused is not known to the one that is repenting.
- Such must have felt really sorry about this negative effect on the victims of such acts – 2Cor. 7:10. There is nothing to repent from if the transgressor believes that the victim of such acts deserve the pain and humiliation received as a result of his/her acts of transgression. This is because such a person feels justified in putting up the act that is now being regarded as transgression and so has no regrets for putting up such act. Any professed repentance by such is definitely deceitful and false. The one who is repenting must feel very bad when the effect of his/her act on others or on the Almighty God and His Christ is made known.
- There must be an intense desire to restitute where possible. Restitution is the act of restoring something to its previous state. In the case of a transgressor, it is an attempt to repair the damage done as a result of such acts of transgression. This is very necessary although not always possible. The Almighty God prescribes some acts of restitution in the Holy Scriptures with regards to some acts of transgression but this cannot be said of every act of transgression of man – Deut. 22:1-29. The one that is in a position to restitute but does not do so can never claim to be repentant as that can also be interpreted to mean that he/she feels justified to have committed the transgression. Return what was taken or repair what was damaged where necessary as part of the repentance process before seeking for forgiveness.
- Finally there must be a resolution not to get involved in such acts again in the future. The one that is repenting must have taken a resolution to not get involved with such acts again. That means that such has not only identified the error, but also has mapped out physical strategies and prayer points to avoid such errors in future. This does not mean that such may not find him/her self in the same error again but the intention being what the Almighty God is looking at is what matters.
As much as these are steps in the process of repentance, they all tend to happen in a flash during the period preceding request for forgiveness such that the boundaries of each step are not defined but nevertheless, they must be taken. It is simply impossible for the repentance to be genuine if any of these steps has been omitted. However, genuine repentance is always met by forgiveness from the Almighty God. Everyone who genuinely repents will be saved from the repercussion of such acts of transgressions – Acts 26-19-29. The one that has genuinely repented will not delight in sin especially the one for which forgiveness was sought. It is simply hypocritical for Christians to come before the throne of grace repeatedly claiming to be repentant of the same sin and expecting to receive forgiveness as such an act is most likely not genuine and sincere and the Almighty God to whom such comes to cannot be deceived. The one who repeatedly seeks forgiveness for any particular act of transgression or any act of transgression for that matter seeks to deceive the Almighty God and such attempts will always fail as He cannot be mocked or deceived. Sincerely and genuinely repent from your sins today and you are assured of forgiveness and a life befitting of one with conferred righteousness. May that be your portion in Jesus name. Amen.