“True repentance is personal, permanent, painful, and profitable.”
When I was around six years old, my precious dad came to me and apologized for something he had done. He said, “I’m sorry.” And being ignorant of forgiveness, I immediately replied, “Sorry’s not enough.” I think in this little girl’s mind, hearing “I’m sorry” could not erase the hurt within my heart. I wonder if God feels the same way with us when we tell Him we are sorry for our sins but then continue to choose to sin.
Currently, Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, is experiencing a revival. Like previous revivals, repentance is one of its main characteristics. In fact, the revival began because of one young man’s confession of sin. Preacher and author, John Blanchard, writes that “Repentance is an inner change of heart and mind and an outward change of life.”
We can say we are sorry to God for our sins, but not really mean it. Sometimes little children flippantly say, “I’m sorry,” to those they have hurt. Their words may not be sincere, but they are hoping those two words will put a band-aid on the relationship. Worldly sorrow is being sorry for getting caught and for reaping the consequences of our sins. What God desires is godly sorrow which leads to repentance and salvation, having no regret (2 Corinthians 7:10).
When we are convicted of our sin and we are “cut to the heart,” repentance is the solution (Acts 2:37-38). Feeling conviction is a gift because it points us to what we need to do to restore our relationship with God. Repentance involves turning away from sin and turning to God. Acts 3:19 reminds us of the benefits of repentance. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Having our slate wiped clean and our guilt cleansed, frees us, and draws us closer to God. Our most important relationship is restored when we genuinely confess to God our wrongdoing and grieve over how our sin has hurt Him and then choose to give up that sin because of our love for Him.
We cannot choose to be convicted for our sins, but we can humble ourselves and ask the Holy Spirit to shine a light on any type or amount of sin and to have that prick our hearts. We cannot change our inner heart which results in an outward change, but we can ask the Holy Spirit to cause us to fall madly in love with God so that our lives are more pleasing to Him. Repent of any known sin and receive God’s forgiveness, for, in His eyes, godly sorrow is enough.
“To do so no more is the truest repentance.”
Ask God to convict you of sin. Genuinely repent and turn your back on that sin and receive God’s forgiveness and restoration of your relationship with Him.