I was recently watching a show where a guy was strangling someone while saying, “I’m sorry!” I kind of got the impression that he wasn’t sorry. If he was, he would have probably stopped strangling the other person, right?
Have you ever uttered the words, “I’m sorry” when you really didn’t mean it? If we’re honest, we probably all have a time or two. But unfortunately, we can often say it just because we’re upset that we got caught or simply to appease another person’s anger.
People can often do that with God. They tell him they are sorry, but they’re really not. And nothing in their life ever changes because of it, they are just simply saying words. We forget there’s a big difference between saying “I’m sorry” and being truly repentant.
Here are a few things you should know about what it means to repent and why it’s absolutely necessary for your life.
Unless you repent, you will perish.
Jesus pulls no punches when it comes to telling us we need to repent. While teaching a crowd of people who thought they were good with God, he said, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:5)
This is good news because it shows that Jesus wants people to repent, and he tells you the options if you don’t. 2 Peter 3:9 reminds us of God’s desire for our repentance when it says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Jesus wants you to repent because he loves you and doesn’t want you to perish. He said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32). If he didn’t want you to perish, he would have never told you what you needed to do to avoid it.
Repentance starts with godly sorrow.
Repentance is more than an “I’m sorry” with an excuse attached. It’s an understanding that your sin has hurt the father, separated your relationship with him, and you are totally in the wrong and need forgiveness.
The Bible teaches us that “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)
Worldly sorrow brings death because it doesn’t put its faith in Jesus to receive forgiveness for the sins committed. Godly sorrow does the exact opposite. It’s a recognition that your sin needs forgiving and Jesus, because of his death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, is the only one who can forgive you.
You turn from sin to acts of righteousness.
Godly sorrow is the kind of sorrow that inspires change in your life. It moves you from continuing to sin to living in obedience to God’s word.
The Bible says, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”(Romans 6:1-4)
Repentance means you are done living for sin, which is living for yourself. And you start living for God and his glory.
God’s word says you should “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:11-14)