“‘TIS NOT ENOUGH”
“’Tis not enough to say, ‘I’m sorry and repent’ , And then go on from day to day, just as I always went.
Repentance is to leave the sins we loved before, and show that we earnest grieve by doing them no more.” (Source: Repentance; Knight’s Master Book of New Illustrations)
Our Lord Jesus Christ in teaching His disciples, once taught a parable (allegory) that is referred to as “The Prodigal (Lost) Son”, where a man had two sons, the younger requested that his father give him his portion of the inheritance. The father then gives the younger son his portion of the inheritance, whereupon the younger son leaves home and journeys to a distant country where he wasted his money in living outrageously. Coming to the situation of having nothing to eat and no where to live; “…he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” <Lk.15:17-18 (NIV)>. On returning home, he is fully forgiven by his father and completely restored to what he had before. One main point of this illustration is the action of the son: “he came to his senses…I will go back to my father”; this is true repentance!
In accordance to Old Testament Law, the people confessed their sin, offered a sacrifice, then often continued in their sinful ways by repeating the same sin. Under New Testament teaching, repentance means turning from sin and turning to unto God <Acts 20:21>; it is called “repentance unto life” since it is not merely departing from evil but to obtain new life found in Christ <Acts 11:18>, it is also referred to as “repentance unto salvation” <2 Cor.7:10>; simply meaning that we do not return to committing the same sin again, inferring that there is a changed attitude toward sin, and not returning to our sinful way of life.
We see then that Repentance is not merely sorrow for sin. There are many today that commit sinful acts, and when caught they make “tearful” apologies but continue to live the same as before; how often have we seen this exhibited from our elected officials all the way down to those that are being put on trial in court proceedings. Then there are those that do “penance”, which is also not Repentance, for penance only gives the sinner merit so as to earn salvation; salvation cannot be earned, and penance only hinders real salvation <Eph.2:8-9>. Repentance, therefore, is a change of intellect that leads to a change of conduct. Every individual needs to Repent because all are guilty in God’s view, and this was taught by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and by all His disciples after His resurrection and return to heaven <see Matt.4:17; Lk.13:3; Mk.1:15; Acts 3:19>; and we should be aware that this is expected by God, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” <Acts 17:30-31 (NIV)>. Repentance is also a very important topic of the Scriptures, being alluded to in some way in every book of the Bible, and is also the desire of God for every individual for “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” <2 Pet.3:9 (NIV)>.
Repentance affects our intellect, since, when we hear God’s offer of salvation, we consider it, then make a decision to change our mind and attitude towards sin; this is seen in the action of the Prodigal son mentioned earlier – he changed his mind and returned to his father, it teaches us to hate sin and learn to love God’s holiness <see Acts 2:36-39>. Repentance also affects our emotions <see 2 Cor.7:9-10>; and is a very hard struggle, for Satan does not want us to follow Christ; and we must understand that to follow Christ is what God expects and desires of us. Repentance is not a single act but is twofold: turning from sin, and turning to God <see 1 Thess.1:9-10>. Repentance is a gift from God, and as already been stated it cannot be earned by good works; it is given to those who believe the Word of God <see Acts 11:18; 2 Tim.2:25-26>, and God sometimes has to reprimand us to bring us to repentance <see Rom.2:4; Rev.3:19>.
Repentance results in rejoicing, not only in heaven <Lk.15:7, 10>, but also to those that repent; “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” <Isa.55:7 (NIV)>; “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” <Acts 3:19 (NIV)>, but we should understand that although Repentance is a gift from God, we are still unworthy sinners and we should never cease to be remorseful.
“In the late 1920s my grandparents married and moved into Grandpa’s old family home. It was a clapboard house with a hall down the middle. In the ’30s they decided to tear down the old house and build another to be their home for the rest of their lives.
Much to my grandmother’s dismay, many of the materials of the old house were reused in their new house. They used old facings and doors, and many other pieces of the finishing lumber. Everywhere my grandmother looked, she saw that old house–old doors that wouldn’t shut properly, crown molding split and riddled with nail holes, unfinished window trimming. It was a source of grief to her. All her life she longed for a new house.
When God brings us into the kingdom, the old way of living must be dismantled and discarded.” (Source: Perfect Illustrations; “Don’t Recycle Old Life”; Citation: Len Sullivan; Tupelo, Mississippi)
True Repentance is a restitution to what mankind lost due to sin <Gen.3:22-23>, for it is only through Repentance, and God’s redemption in Christ, that we can again have access to the tree of life <Rev.2:7; 22:14>.