Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.
The words spoken by Paul in Acts 17:30-31 are as relevant today as the day they were uttered. Today, as two thousand years ago, God called to repentance every man and woman. The Scripture makes it very clear, it is not a suggestion but a command, an order. Some will be offended because the order would affect their rights; but ignore it is even more damaging because it will be a day when God will judge the world in righteousness.
I will share what the American pastor Richard Owen Roberts said: “The first word of the gospel is not ‘Love’ it is not even ‘Grace.’ The first word of the gospel is ‘Repent.’ From Matthew to Revelation, repentance is an urgent and indispensable issue placed himself in front of the gospel message.” Modern preaching has excluded topics like repentance, sin and holiness. People are more willing to listen to talk about love, grace and forgiveness. The trouble is that neither the grace nor forgiveness is possible without genuine repentance.
What does genuine repentance mean? The American pastor Charles G. Finney (1792-1875) said: “The individual, who truly repents, not only sees sin as a detestable and despicable, worthy of abhorrence, but really hates, hates it in his heart.” The real repentance involves completely abandon the life of sin and hate that way of life. It is to do what the American writer Rosaria Butterfield (1962- ) says: “Repentance requires greater intimacy with God than with our sin.”
Many people have difficulty with repentance because our definition of sin may be different from God. However, in our relationship with God, we must do things His way, not ours. The English preacher Charles Simeon (1759-1836) said: “One of the most fundamental marks of true repentance is to see our sins as God sees.” This is not to accommodate the Word of God to our tastes and preferences but to adjust our conduct to God’s standard.
Repentance is the first step we must take to be achieved by grace. But grace does not authorize us to return to the past life of sin. On the contrary, we must be guided to grace a life of holiness, in which sin has no place. In this regard, the American pastor David Powlison says: “Repentance is not only the way we began the Christian life; repentance is the Christian life.” True repentance is being born again, which says John 3:3: Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
So it all starts with repentance and everything should continue that way until the end. If we are born again, it is because we are different to what we were. The true gospel begins and continues with repentance. False gospel is described by the American preacher Paul D. Washer (1961- ) as follows: “The false gospel makes the pig feel comfortable believing sheep while still wallowing in the mud.” Let us leave behind forever the mire of sin and embrace true repentance. God bless you.