The truths relating to man’s acceptance of God’s great salvation are reflected through repentance, faith and obedience. The apostle Paul’s prayer for the church in Colosse was, “…That [they] live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” (1 Colossians 1:10) John the Baptist told those who were coming out to be baptized, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance…” (Luke 3:8) The apostle Paul was obedient to his vision given to him by God. He told the people to “…prove their repentance by their deeds.” (Acts 26:20) Jesus said He came to call “…sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32) The Lord told His disciples that “…repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His Name to all nations.” (Luke 24:47)
In Scripture, repentance is a turning away from sin and turning toward God. It is a change of mind, a forsaking of sin. It is putting sin out of one’s thoughts and behavior. The New International Dictionary of the Bible gives this definition. “Repentance is a profound change of mind involving the changing of the direction of life from that of self-centeredness or sin-centeredness to God or Christ-centeredness. God’s forgiveness is available only to those who are repentant, for only they can receive it.” Those who find rest in Christ are those who see sin to be what the Lord hates. They see sin as that which only defiles and brings to ruin everything in their lives, and they see it as the catalyst which destroys communion with God. They are weary of service to the world, the flesh and the devil.
Walter B. Knight wrote about a Christian worker who was talking to a man about salvation. He ask the man if he believed John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Then the Christian asked the man if he believed 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” The man replied , “I believe those verses.” The Christian said, “Well, then you are saved.” The man then replied, “No, I am not! There is sin within my own heart and mind. I am hugging on to it and I am not willing to give it up. My common sense tells me that I must repent, and utterly forsake it. I have got to stop going my own way and desire to follow God’s way.” The Christian then turned the man to Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his ways and the evil man his thoughts. Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, for He will freely pardon.”
There are three types of people in this world: 1.) Those who do not understand repentance. 2.) Those who understand repentance yet will not forsake their sin, and 3.) Those who have in repentance accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord. They enjoy freedom from the bondage of those sins that desire to destroy them and their relationship with Christ. They live a life worthy of the Gospel they preach. Which type of person are you?