The Gift of Repentance

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Inspiration By New Creation Ministry — By J.C. Riley

There are many things that we consider to be gifts: good health, family relationships, life, etc. However, how often do we consider the invitation to repent of our sins as a gift? A gift is simply defined as something voluntarily given without requiring payment. In Christ, we have been freely given the opportunity to repent of our sins as a result of the price that He has paid.

According to biblestudytools.com “The most common translation of “repent” is to “turn” or “return”. Two requisites of repentance included in the sub are “to turn from evil, and to turn to the good.” Most critical theologically is the idea of returning to God, or turning away from evil.” In order for us to ‘return’ to God then that means we were once with Him. Although we were not one with God during our natural existence, we were one with Him in His original vision.  Genesis 1:26 says: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” In His mind, humanity was created to reflect His image and this could only be accomplished as oneness is shared between the two. 2 Corinthians 5:18 tells us: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” To reconcile means to restore or put back together. The call to repent from sin is the invitation to be restored to relationship with our heavenly Father.

This is a most precious gift because the Godhead paid the expensive price of death in order for us to have it. Romans 8:7 tells us that “The mind of the flesh [with its sinful pursuits] is actively hostile to God. It does not submit itself to God’s law, since it cannot..” In the King James version it uses the word ‘enmity’ in place of ‘hostile’. In other words, we are born with a nature that rejects God and His government. The above verse says that the mind of the flesh cannot be submitted to God. This means that when it comes to us reflecting the divine image we are handicapped and unable to do it. Not just some of us but all of us, since the fall of Adam and Eve, were born with this deficiency. Therefore, we need a new nature but in order for this to be possible we need to be healed from the enmity that wars within us against all things holy. In the book of Ephesians, the writer reveals the solution to our problem: in chapter 2:14-16 he writes: “For He (Jesus) Himself is our peace and our bond of unity. He who made both groups—[Jews and Gentiles]—into one body and broke down the barrier, the dividing wall [of spiritual antagonism between us],  by abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the hostility caused by the Law with its commandments contained in ordinances [which He satisfied]; so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thereby establishing peace. And [that He] might reconcile them both [Jew and Gentile, united] in one body to God through the cross, thereby putting to death the hostility.” Notice what is said about Jesus in the above verses: He is “our peace and bond of unity” and He put to death “the hostility (or enmity).”

In the death of Jesus, the enmity which separated us from the desire and ability to be at oneness with God was destroyed; our greatest obstacle was removed out of the way. Where the first Adam failed the second Adam succeeded. The first Adam planted the seed of death within us but the second Adam has replaced it with the seed of life.

The invitation to repent has much more to do with being restored to our heavenly Father in relationship than it does with changing our habits and practices. It’s a change that must be done within us by the One who has demonstrated His love for us. Living in harmony with God’s commandments become natural to the person who is restored in heart to the divine image. Sin is no longer tolerable and righteousness is preferred to the person who has been born again from within.

In Genesis chapter 15:1 it says “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; Your reward [for obedience] shall be very great.” Those same words are spoken to us today in the call to repent. Since sin separates us from God then repentance is the road towards restoration. From the above verse in Genesis until the last book in the bible these words are repeated, I will be yours and you will be Mines. This is the benefit of repentance and it is left to us to decide what will do with this precious gift.

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