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What is Repentance?

By Chris Bunton

A child is walking through the woods with his father in the coolness of the day. The child is holding the father’s hand. He is talking to the father, and asking all kinds of questions. The father answers and points things out. He is leading the child along teaching and helping the child to understand. The child is with his dad. There is is love, peace and safety. There is security.

The child wanders over and looks at a flower. Then, runs back to the dad. They continue to walk along as the child runs and splashes in a mud puddle. The child runs back to the father, and they continue along. 

The Father stops and squats down pointing to a deer standing on the path ahead. He shows the creature to the child. They laugh and talk and there is wonder.

This is an image of repentance. This is an image of walking with God, or walking in the Spirit.

The word “Repent” means “To Turn”. It does not mean “To turn from sin”. It simply means “To turn”.

The idea is that we are called by God, and we turn to Him. We are called by the Father, we hear, we turn and run to Him.  Then, He takes care of our sin.

According to the teachings of the scriptures, humans are totally depraved. We are incapable of doing what’s right, in the eyes of God. We cannot Love. We are selfish, and prideful. We are full of all kinds of evils, from birth. And even before birth. It goes all the way back to Adam’s disobedience in the garden.

When Adam fell something entered into man, corrupting our true nature. This spiritual plague is what causes us to commit the sins we commit. There is something wrong with us.

We cannot fix this problem ourselves. So, God Himself came to Earth in the form of Jesus Christ, and died for us. Then, He rose from the dead in victory for our justification.

This leads to the Holy Spirit, calling us. He calls each of us and asks us to turn to God. We cannot turn from sin, because we do not even know how bad we truly are. We have no clue. We just know that something is wrong, and we want it fixed and we realize that God is the only hope we have.

So, we turn to Him. We cry out for Him. We confess Jesus as our Lord, and we are instantly washed, and made whole in the spirit. We are saved, and are walking with God.

We still sin however. We are still walking in this world and this fleshly body. But, like a child who wanders from the path we turn and run to the father.

The Bible says that He has washed us white as snow. He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. To be remembered no more. Our sin is gone, when we turn to God and ask. That is repentance.

He washed our feet. We wash each others feet. We confess our sins to Him and He forgives us, and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. We are supposed to forgive others as well.

As time goes on we grow like a child. We learn like a child. The Holy Spirit teaches us and we get better and better and sin less. When we sin we turn to God. That is repenting. And we grow.

There’s a belief that we do not sin, because we fight and struggle to keep from sinning. And that repenting is to turn from sin. The problem is that this creates a life of misery, where you are always doing wrong, and never able to please God, and always trying to make Him happy.

We are called to peace. We are called to abide. There is a struggle, but the struggle is not in quitting sinning; the struggle is in running back to the Father. Because regardless of your sins, He is waiting, and running to you to sweep you up and hold you. He is calling you, because you wandered off the path. God does not get disappointed in us. We do not break God’s heart, as some say. God changes not. 

You did not surprise God. He knows you are a sinner. He died 2000 years ago for that exact sin you are broken up about. The concern now will be that you will hide from God, like Adam and Eve did? Or will you run to Him, and confess, and tell Him all about it, and grab His hand and keep walking? This is repentance. This is abiding. This is relationship.

In Christ’s day, and in Paul’s day, there were religious leaders who wanted to impose rules upon the people and force them to sin less. They did not understand what it meant to walk with God, and confess your sins to Him, and let the sacrifice take it away. They wanted to control and keep people caged, like their father the devil. They did not want people to be set free. 

In Paul’s day, those same beliefs followed him as he set people free in Christ. Another group came and imposed all sorts of rules. More and more rules, to destroy the relationship with the father, and make it about rule keeping. Dead rule keeping. A fig leaf covering.

We are saved by Grace, because God died for us, and calls us and gives everything we need to turn to Him. Through faith, because we believe what He tells us and put our trust in Him. Not by works lest any man should boast, because we cannot do it ourselves. If we think we do not sin we are a liar and the truth is not in us. As believers we do not sin, because we are washed and in Him. Not because of anything we do, or don’t do. We are sinless, because of Him. Not because we sin less.

But, if they demand works, then remember that turning to God is a work. Confessing Jesus as your Lord, is a work. Confessing your sins to God, is a work. Loving God and others is a work. Telling others about Him is a work. Abiding in Him, and Walking with Him is a work. And those works are good enough for Him.

Repentance is to turn to God, and let Him take care of you. Like a child who runs to the Father because of a scary dog. He has you. God says, “I have called you by name. You are mine.” No created thing can remove you from His hands. Even you. He has you.

Your Father has you. Turn to Him.


Bio: Chris Bunton is a Writer, Poet and Blogger from Southern Illinois. He writes on multiple topics. Spiritual things, Alternative health, Life Improvement, Fiction, and Creative Non-fiction. You name it, and he probably has an opinion on it.

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