The ARC of Biblical Repentance

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For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. (2 Cor. 7:10)

What is repentance?

Sometimes we equate repentance with grief or sorrow, feeling sorry. Repentance does involve those emotions because you realize through your actions you have wronged somebody or more importantly wronged God. But if we stop at the sadness, Paul tells us, it leads to death. So what is repentance? What does Biblical repentance involve?

Anthony Hoekema provides a helpful definition of repentance,

Repentance may be defined as the conscious turning of the regenerate person away from sin and toward God in a complete change of living, which reveals itself in a new way of thinking, feeling and willing.

From Hoekema’s definition we see Biblical repentance involves the whole person, intellect, emotions and will. I don’t know if you have this problem, but sometimes when we do something wrong, we feel sad and move on. Then days, months or years down the road we develop the habit of what Paul calls worldly grief, which provides an excuse for our habitual sins. Often we find ourselves in bondage to sin because we have a warped view of repentance.

The ARC of Biblical repentance is more than feeling sorry or saying sorry, repentance involves,

  • Agreeing – with God you have violated his commands and what you have done is a violation of his will.
  • Regretting – knowing we disobeyed God, there should be a sadness or as Paul says a godly grief because we caused a riff in our relationship with the Lord. This godly grief produces in us a desire to become more like Christ.
  • Changing – because of the desire to change infuses the will with the “want to” turn away from our wasteful living to purpose filled living.

Biblical repentance is the work of God’s correction, through the Spirit’s convicting, in your life which he brings you into conformity with the truth. Paul tells Timothy to,

correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 2:25)

When you feel the conviction of the Spirit in your life it is God granting you the opportunity to repent and grow closer to him. We should respond through the ARC of Biblical repentance, Agreeing, Regretting and Changing.

Until Next Time

Soli Deo Gloria

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