A Picture of Repentance

Some words carry negative connotations. For example, if you hear “theology” you may think of big, churchy words that are only for pastors. You may not realize it is simply the study of God and His truth. “Dentist” seems to be a word that causes people to cringe. Granted, not every visit to your dentist is pleasant but they are accomplishing a greater good for you. And many of us have our stomach turn when we hear “Duke basketball.” Never mind, in Kentucky that’s the proper response to “Duke.” 

“Repentance” is another word that gets a bad rap. Whether it is due to images of hell, fire, and brimstone as preachers angrily call for repentance or simply the fact that repentance is hard, it is a word we don’t like talking about. But what if the call to repentance is actually good news? You see, repentance is simply turning from one thing to another. As it relates to the gospel, it is turning from sin and destruction toward Jesus and life. That is good news!

But repentance isn’t easy, just ask Saul:

”But the Lord said to him [Ananias], ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’ So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened.” (Acts 9:15-19)

Notice what all Saul is turning from when meets Jesus. He gives up the authority he has to arrest others. He will be giving up his comfort as well as his life’s purpose up to that point. He will also be letting go of the rage and self-righteous pride that led him to this moment.

And what does he get in return? By turning to Jesus he gets a life-giving purpose instead of a destructive one. Instead of being filled with rage he is now filled with the Holy Spirit. And though he may lose certain comforts, he will gain contentment in Christ (Philippians 4:10-13). He even regained his sight. 

So what attitudes and actions in your life do you need to turn from? Letting go of them may be hard, but turning to Jesus in faith is a much greater reward (Philippians 3:7).

By Philip Jones

Philip and his wife, Stacy, have been attending Immanuel since 2015. They are blessed to be raising four kids. His passion in ministry is to help others follow Jesus through teaching, preaching, and personal discipleship.



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