"God...now commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30). This
command is from God; and it has come to you. "Repentance" means changing one's
mind. Sad to say, all men are sinners and are going the way that leads to
destruction. God in His great love is commanding all men to turn right about turn
and go towards Him, and He is willing to accept them. "...him that cometh to me I
will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). ",..except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish"
1. Have you repented of all your sins? Perhaps you have heard the voice of
God and have decided to repent. But have you repented of all your sins?
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he
is guilty of all. For he that said, do not commit adultery, said also, do not
kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a
transgressor of the law" (James2: 10, 11). You may be willing to leave 99
sins; but there may be one sin of which you have no mind to repent; then
it is as if you have not repented at all. If you truly repent, you must flee
from every sin.
2. Have you realized the sinfulness of sin? Adam and Eve only ate one fruit,
disobeyed God only once, and they were sent away from the Garden of
Eden. Their sin may appear small to man, but it was very serious before
God. You might think that only to kill is a sin, but God says,"...Whosoever
shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire"(Matt.5: 22), or you
might think that only adultery is serious, but God says, "...whosoever
looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her
already in his heart" (Matt.5:28). When God really opens your eyes you
will realize how serious and abominable' all your sins are. "Then shall ye
remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and
shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your
abominations" (Ezek.36: 31). Then you will cry out, "0 wretched man that
I am!" (Rom.7: 24). Read also -Psa.38: 3-5; Psa.51: 3,4; Isa.59:2.
3. Are you really sorry for your sins? In Luke 18: 13 we read of a man who
was sorry for his sins. This man came to the Temple. but stood afar off. In
this way he confessed that because of his sins he was unworthy to
approach the presence of God. Do you realize how unworthy you are to
come before the holy God? Secondly, he would not lift up his eyes unto
heaven. He acknowledged that he was guilty before God, and worthy to be
punished. He hung down his head like a guilty criminal. Have you ever
acknowledged that because of your sins you deserve to be cast into the
lake of fire? "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that
forget God" (Psa.9: 17). Thirdly, this man smote upon his breast. Had
anyone died in his house? No. but he was full of sorrow for his own sins.
You have shed many tears because of pain, sorrow or disappointment. But
have you shed one tear before God, being sorry for your sins? Fourthly,
he prayed saying, God be merciful to mea sinner". He came believing that
he would receive mercy from God. "For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to
forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee"
(Psa.86: 5). Have you called upon the Lord and obtained His mercy?
4. Have you brought forth the fruits of repentance? It is possible that you
have repented, and God knows all about it. But should not men also have
the evidence of it? The Lord Jesus said, "...by their fruits ye shall know
them" (Matt.7:20). When you see mangoes on a tree, then you know it is
a mango tree. So also when people see the fruits of repentance in you
they will know that you have repented. Have you made peace with all
your enemies? Have you asked forgiveness from all whom you have
offended? Have you returned the articles you have stolen? Have you
decided to pay back all your debts, even though you have to make much
sacrifice in order to do so? Have you given up your bad habits? Are you
controlling your tongue and temper in the fear of God? Are you praying for
your enemies without retaliating evil for evil?
5. Do you realize that you were born in sin? "And think not to say within
yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God
is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham" (Matt.3: 9). You
cannot say you are different from other people because you are born in a
godly family. "...for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come
short of the glory of God" (Rom.3: 22,23). Even David says, "Behold, I
was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psa.51:
5). "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then
may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer .13:23). We are
all born with a sinful nature. By birth we are a generation of vipers
(Matt.3:7). We have committed such abominable sins that the Lord had to
say to us all, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father
ye will do" (John 8:44). This was our terrible condition! But thank God, it is
not so now. When we repented of our sins, He freely forgave us, cleansed us
from all our sins, and has made our bodies the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Notwithstanding you have to remember that when you were born to your
mother you were born in sin; this body of yours is a "body of sin" (Rom.6:6),
and a "body of death" (Rom.7:24); this body will be left in the grave and can
never go to heaven (1 Cor.15:42-44).
6. Do you realize that Christ had to be crucified for your sins? Our sins were so
great that you and I de served to be crucified. But Christ took our place and
died for our sins (Rom.5:8). We have done wicked and sinful deeds with our
hands, and they deserve to be pierced with nails. We have used our feet to
move with sinful motives, and they deserve to be nailed to the cross. Our
whole body has been defiled with sin and deserves to be beaten with whips.
Our faces have been proud and stubborn and we deserve to be spat upon our
faces. Our heads have been full of selfish and unholy thoughts and we deserve
a crown of thorns. But Jesus took your place and mine and suffered everything
for you and me. Perhaps you think that the Roman soldiers crucified Him. But
actually because of your sins, you have crucified Him. Have you realized this
fact? (Acts 2:36,37).
7. Have you turned away from all your sins? "He that covereth his sins shall not
prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy"
(Prov.28:13). When you truly repent of all your sins, you will be filled with
hatred for sin and love for righteousness. There are seven results, which the
Holy Spirit will work in you (See 2 Cor.7:10,11). You will be filled with a
desire to be very careful that you should never fall into your old ways again,
like a dog returning to his vomit, and a washed sow to its wallowing in the
mire (2 Peter 2:22). You will have a great desire to set right all your past sins
and to clear yourself of any guilt or blame that had come upon you because of
your past sins. You will be filled with hatred, aversion and indignation against
those very same 'sins which you once loved and enjoyed and longed for. You
will also be filled with fear that God may punish you severely if you willfully
fall into the same sins after coming to the knowledge of the truth. You will
now have a vehement desire to lead a life of absolute holiness, and live a life
which is well pleasing to the Saviour Who has redeemed you by His own
precious blood. You will now have zeal and joyful longing to do acts of
righteousness and service to the Lord. Also you will determine to take revenge
(in a holy sense) on the enemy by not only overcoming your temptations but
also by entering into the enemy's territory and obtaining spoil by working for
the salvation of those who are still in his bondage.
Finally, you have to repent also of every idea that you can please God
through anything good in you. You are a leper. You have the leprosy of sin, which is
incurable by man. You need the Lord's touch to be healed by Him. Till now, you are
only an unclean thing and all your works of righteousness are only filthy rags before
God (lsa.64:6). Unless and until you are healed, your service to God, such as
singing, giving offerings, even preaching and praying, are all alike entirely useless
and unacceptable to God. "To what purpose is the. multitude of your sacrifices unto
me? saith the Lord...When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at
your hand, to tread my courts? ...the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of
assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting...yea, when
ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make
you clean" (lsa.1 :11-16).
God wants to give you the gift of everlasting life so that you can become a
member of God's family. Unless you receive that gift you are dead in your sins, and
even what you think to be your good works, are only dead works before God. These
dead works cannot give you salvation. Have you turned away from them to trust in
the finished work of salvation which the Lord Jesus accomplished for you upon the
Cross of Calvary? Instead of saying, "I am trusting in my good life, my good works
and my good gifts for my salvation", can you say, "I am trusting only in this that
although I deserve the wrath of God and the everlasting punishment, Christ died for
my sins and therefore I am free?"
Dear friend, repent of all your sins sincerely, so that your tender heart may
become like good ground where the seed of God's Word may be sown and bring forth
thirty fold, sixty fold and hundred fold fruit.