Author: Ron Graham
This lesson is about repentance from sin and what goes with repentance to make it genuine.
The Bible says, "godly sorrow produces repentance" (2Corinthians 7:10). Repentance requires that we feel remorse, and true sorrow for our sins.
Only godly sorrow produces repentance. For example, a rich man "went away sorrowful" but did not repent of his love for money (Matthew 19:16-22). He didn't have a genuine godly sorrow.
Peter's preaching caused many people to be "cut to the heart" and to cry out "What shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). Peter then told them to repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38). Their conviction of sin led them to repentance.
But we must bring our guilt to God. For example, Judas had a guilty conscience about betraying Jesus, but he committed suicide instead of repenting unto life (Matthew 27:3-5). He didn't take his guilt to God in repentance.
Repentance requires that we be willing to acknowledge our sin to God. We should not wait till Judgment Day when every one must give account to God (Romans 14:10-12). There can be no true repentance if we refuse to acknowledge our sin and pretend to be righteous.
Jesus taught us to pray, "Forgive us our sins..." (Matthew 6:12). Peter told Simon the sorcerer to repent and pray for forgiveness (Acts 8:22). Of course one can request forgiveness and still lack repentance. The unmerciful slave pleaded for mercy, yet he obviously had not repented (Matthew 18:23-35).
True repentance requires a willingness to undo our wrongs where possible. Zacchaeus not only repented of his sins, but promised to make amends. His genuine intention to right his wrongs made his repentance true (Luke 19:8-9).
John the Baptizer told the Pharisees, "Bring forth fruits in keeping with your repentance" (Matthew 3:7-8). Repentance isn't a way of dodging responsibility for the consequences of our wrongdoings. We must try to make up for the wrongs we have done to others.
The Greek for repentance is (meta-noia) meaning “change of mind” In the New Testament, it usually refers to a change of mind about sin.
This is not merely ceasing to feel guilty about our sins, believing that Jesus covers them while we happily continue in them. That would be a change of mind about sin, but it would certainly not be repentance.
The Lord said of Jezebel "I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality and she would not" (Revelation 2:21-22). He certainly did not mean that she should just stop feeling guilty while continuing her immoral activities with his blessing. He meant she had to stop her immorality and live in his righteousness.
1. What does the word “repentance” mean exactly? (Feeling sorry, a change of heart, or confessing sin?)
2. Can a person repent of sin without also feeling guilty and sorry? (Yes, no, or maybe?)
3. Which of these actions should accompany repentance? (Asking God for forgiveness, confessing the sin to God, trying to make amends, or all of those?)
4. Which of the following persons was a good example of repentance? (Judas, Zacchaeus, or the rich young man?)
5. On the day of Pentecost, what did Peter tell people to do? (Just believe, do nothing, or repent and be baptized for forgiveness of sin?)