It’s not enough to say, “I’m sorry.” Part 1

When is repentance real? When does repentance result in conversion and a transformation of the inner man? When do the sins of our past become forgotten and our broken relationships become restored? In other words, when do we develop the fruits of repentance?

If you do not currently have a true and close relationship with Jesus Christ, then you need to repent and believe the gospel. This article shows you the way to true repentance with examples of the fruit of repentance.

Mark 1:14-15 King James Version (KJV)

14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Why repent?

There are many self help publications that provide keys to improving your life.  How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie and  The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale come to mind. These books rely on truths that God gave mankind inherent power to speak things (situations and relationships) into existence. But that power cannot completely solve the basic problem we all face as descendants of Adam and Eve. No matter how successful we are, no matter how many friends we have, no matter how we try to make our lives work, we always fall short and miss the essential point. Without repentance, we always continue in the same death struggle with God trying to prove we are better than (or at least good enough)  to please him.

Romans 3:23 New King James Version (NKJV)

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Our sin prevents us from having faith that can make us righteous before God. We continue on in our lives and eventually come to a breaking point. Our existential well being becomes challenged and we thrash about looking for a solution.

James 1:14-15 New International Version (NIV)

14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Our full grown sin breaks down the fabric of our lives and we suddenly realize we are without hope in the world. We may even realize that God himself is against us.

1 Peter 3:12 King James Version (KJV)

12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

At this point we are ready to hear the gospel and repent. So we take the leap of faith and declare our sinfulness and receive forgiveness from God.

Isaiah 52:7 New International Version (NIV)

7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news,who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion,    “Your God reigns!”

Your salvation is only a decision away.  Salvation has been freely given to everyone who repents and declares Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.

Luke 15:7-10 New International Version (NIV)

7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

White collar conversion

Repentance is turning around. It begins with a realization of our sin, or weaknesses that have caused damage to our lives. Each person has a different experience.  For example, a young man who was recently divorced, almost lost his white collar job, did not own a car and the car that he borrowed was about to be returned. Without a car, a job, and soon a place to live, this man felt he would become homeless and hopeless. He found himself in a church and heard that God would help him.  So he took the major step and repented. He said the prayer and was born again.  Repentance made it possible for him to receive forgiveness from his loving Father. Thus began a lifelong journey of growing and learning. This man held on tight to Jesus and gradually his life improved.  He bought a car with his first paycheck as a down-payment.. His job was secured and he continued attending church and home group meetings.  He read the Bible and prayed.  — That was 35 years ago. It all began with repentance.

A changed life

True repentance results in a changed life. The criminal leaves his life of crime. The proud man humbles himself. The rich person gives benevolently to the poor. The addict overcomes his addiction. The profligate settles down with an honest and good relationship. The abuser discontinues his abusive behaviors.

Often sinful associations must be avoided.  This is where the repentant person must find new associations, such as a church family.  A new convert is weak and susceptible to Satan’s influence through his old associations.The act of rejecting these old sinful associations can be interpreted as fruit of repentance.It shows that the person wants to follow a new path to God.

Luke 3:12-14 New International Version (NIV)

12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

Luke 19:8-9 New International Version (NIV)

8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.

Repent and believe the Gospel

If you have identified with this article and you would like to repent and receive forgiveness for your sins and become one of the children of God through Jesus Christ, just say this prayer and mean it.

Sinner’s Prayer for Salvation

How to be born again

Pray the sinner’s prayer to be saved

Be assured, God loves you, and wants to forgive, save, and heal you.
Cast all your burden on Him, and embrace Jesus with all your heart. Pray
this prayer, mean it, and you will be saved, right where you sit.

LORD: I here and now Repent and Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

I believe you died for me, as my Substitute, and rose from the dead according to the Scriptures.

Thank you Lord, for taking my place, and paying my debt in full.

Even though I was apart from You, separated by my sin, You saw me, helpless, and fallen, and loved me enough to die for me.

You did no wrong. I’m the one who has sinned, I broke God’s Law. I deserve to die for my sins. You were innocent, and yet took my place on the Cross.

I believe that You suffered the penalty for all my sins, You paid the full price to wipe out my debt.

Your sinless Blood, precious and Divine, pays for all my sin.

Because You took my punishment, I am now free. No sin
remains to condemn me. I’m no longer guilty before God. I can never be
judged or condemned for my sins because they were judged in You, Lord.

I believe this Good News, the message of the Cross. I trust Your Promise that everyone who asks receives.

Please forgive me Lord. I receive You now into my heart.

I accept Your gracious gift of love, mercy and peace.

The LORD Jesus Christ now lives in me.

I am a new creation in Christ.

Born of God with the life of Jesus in me.

I trust the Blood of Christ cleanses every sin from my life.

My record is wiped clean because of your grace and mercy.

LORD, I trust that You did enough for me. You paid it all, so no more price need ever be paid.

You did enough to save me forever, I will not claim any merit, offer
any good works, or pay any price, as long as I live. Nor will I say or do anything more to have my past sins forgiven, or to be saved.

Lord Jesus, You did enough 2,000 years ago to save me once and for all.

From this moment I trust entirely in what You did for me on the Cross. It is sufficient. Nothing can ever improve my salvation.

Your Blood has cleansed me now. I am forgiven now. I am saved now.

Help me to follow You, and share this wonderful news with everyone.

Thank You Lord for my full salvation. AMEN!