True Christian repentance involves a heartfelt conviction of sin, a contrition over the offense to God, a turning away from the sinful way of life, and a turning towards a God-honoring way of life.
Genuine repentance is not simply a “rethinking” of one’s relationship to sin and God. Repentance must be first rooted in the realization of how sinful an action, emotion, belief, or way of life is. Then, one must be grieved by how offensive and grieving sin is to God, not simply afraid of God’s retribution for your sin. In other words, repentance must be rooted in a high value on God, not a high value on oneself. Only then can turning away from sin towards holiness truly be called repentance. The failure to repent is thus a form of idolatry. Refusal to repent is to elevate our own souls above God’s glory, but when one does repent, it leads to the forgiveness of sin, the removal of divine discipline, and the restoration of one’s experiential communion with God.
Four ways to foster a culture of repentance and forgiveness in your church.
Until sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.
Repentance isn’t the same thing as moral resolve or feeling guilty.
Repentance isn’t primarily about what you’re fleeing from but whom you’re fleeing to.
We ask God to forgive us not to be re-justified, but to walk before him in confidence that Christ has paid it all.
We tend to respond to accurate criticism in one of two ways: repentance or defensiveness. But our default mode—in and out of the church—seems to be defensiveness.
Lots of people repent of their moral failures. Christians need to go deeper and repent of their fake righteousness as well.
The Bible teaches that there is never a day when repentance is beyond our grasp.