"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance"(Luke 5:32).
then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times
of refreshing may come from the Lord"(Acts 3L19).
is walking on the new and correct path and turning from the past. In
Christianity, repentance is the first step in becoming a Christian. The
prophets asked their people to repent in the olden days. Jesus also
said, "repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near"(Matthew 4:17). He
commanded his disciples to preach this to the people when they left for
their evangelistic missions. The path to enter heaven is by repentance
and to recognize yourself a sinner and then stop sinning.
prophet Isaiah said, "Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice
like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house
of Jacob their sins"(Isaiah 58:1). If we want to be good people, we have
to recognize our guilt and sins first. Without knowing what these
things are we cannot fix them.
But, most of us dont try to
recognize our faults, today. We are too self-confident, and proud. We
never think of ourselves as sinful, so we feel bad when we are called
sinners. Most people want to be flattered. However, there is nothing
better than to see our faults so that we can make our lives bright and
was resurrected three days after he died on the cross, and He rose to
heaven 40 days later. The disciples of Jesus gathered in an attic in
Jerusalem after Jesus ascension and prayed with unified hearts to
receive the Holy Spirit from above. As a result of this, all 120 people
who prayed there all received the Holy Spirit.
was Peter the one who had been the first disciple but had denied knowing
Jesus three times. He repented and prayed one and received the Spirit
to prove the power of Jesus in front of a multitude of people in
Jerusalem. "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this; God has made
this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. You disowned the
Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You
killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are
witness to this"(Acts 2:36, 3:14,15). When the people heard this, their
hearts were touched and they said to Peter; "Brother, what shall we
His warning and pointing out of their sins
touched their hearts. Peter answered, "Repent and be baptized, every one
of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"(Acts 2:38). In the
afternoon, Peter said in the synagogue, "Repent then, and turn to God,
so that your sins may be wiped out, that a time of renewal may come from
the Lord"(Acts 3:19). In this phrase, a time of renewal means the day
of salvation when we can be released from our sins. The conditions for
having this are faith and repentance.
was said before, repentance is not just an awareness of sin. Repentance
is an act of turning away from sin. Turning away from the past is
called rebirth. Repentance and rebirth are two aspects of the same
experience. However there is a little difference between them.
Repentance is the work of humans; rebirth is the work of God. Jesus told
His disciples, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like
little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven"(Matthew
18:3). It sounds very strange to tell adults to be like little children.
"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither
can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil"(Jeremiah 13:23).
we expect to be better by repenting by our own efforts or with our own
strength? We have already learned that our pledge and determination are
not strong at all. A real repentance is beyond the reach of our own
power. Some people believe that we can be changed by education or
training. They believe that we can change a sinner into a righteous
person. But we can't change our real characters.
The apostle Paul who was a well-educated and moral person lamented his weakness and imperfections.
is only one way. It is the experience of rebirth. Once Nicodemos, a
Jewish leader, visited Jesus. He was a very good and well educated
person and was working as a member of the ruling council. He wanted to
receive Jesus teaching.
Unlike the apostle Paul, he seemed to
think that his own life was perfect and his character was good. Jesus
replied, "I tell you the truth; no one can enter the kingdom of God
unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh,
but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my
saying, you must be born again, and the wind blows wherever it pleases.
You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it
is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit"(John 3:5-8).
to this saying, true repentance is rebirth, which is, being a new
person. But we can't experience a rebirth by our own efforts. Only Gods
grace provides us with the way to rebirth by his great power.
recorded his experience, "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient,
deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived
in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the
kindness and love of God our Savior appeared...He saved us through the
washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit"(Titus 3:3-5). Paul
tells us that rebirth is only by the Holy Spirit, not by us. Therefore,
if a sinner wants to live right, he has to receive new life from the
Holy Spirit through an experience of rebirth. When we say that we
believe in Jesus and repent, it means two things. First, we receive
forgiveness for all our sins. And second, we receive new life from
Jesus. Without these two things, we can never be saved. This experience
is like a breath of fresh air blown into our hearts. No one can feel it
except the repentant person himself.
are some steps that we must take to experience rebirth. First, we must
know our sins. Once, someone asked Grotdustin, an English prime
minister. What do we need in modern life? He answered, knowing our sins.
of sin is very important thing if we want control our personal and
social life. But these days many people dont realize that they are
sinful even though they commit sins every day.
What a pity it
is, if we dont know when we are living in the sin! Every one of us is
born sinful since Adam, and is living in sin, so there is no one who has
Something to consider is that among all sins, the
biggest sin is not knowing and believing in God. If a child doesn't know
his parents or ignores them, he is a sinner. Like this, if we don't
honor our Heavenly Father who gave us life, we also sin. Not keeping the
Commandments and being disobedient are also sins. Having wrong thoughts
in our minds is also a sin. Not doing righteous things even though we
know how to is also a sin. So there is no one who is not sinning.
we must repent. If a person realizes he is a sinner and he is doing
wrong, he has to repent with a sincere heart. Paul mentioned in a letter
to the Corinthian church, "yet now I am happy, not because you were
made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance... Godly
sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret,
but worldly sorrow brings death"(Corinthians 7:9-10). Sorrow means being
sad about doing our sins and being contrite. This sorrow, which can
lead us to salvation, is a turning point to a new life. It's not just
being sorry or full of regret. It must be a much bigger feeling. When we
think of God's infinite love and the suffering that Jesus experienced,
when we realize His suffering was from our transgressions, we start to
feel great inspiration in our hearts and we start to hate sin like we
hate our enemies. "This is the sorrow we must feel in our hearts. Paul
said; God's kindness leads you toward repentance"(Romans 2:4). Nothing
but the Holy Spirit can make us experience this. This is the work of
Third, we must confess our sins. The thing to comfort us,
when we suffer through repentance, is confession of our sins. John said
in his letters, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and
will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness"(1 John
1:9). It is very easy for us to receive forgiveness for our sins. We
should only admit that we have sinned and confess what we have done.
Then God will forgive all our sins. So when a person confesses all his
sins faithfully, his concern will turn into peace and his sorrow into
When we confess, we need wisdom and courage. We
must not confess without wisdom. If the sin is private, we have to
confess only to God who can forgive us. But if we have offended our
neighbors, we must admit the wrong and beg their pardon. If it is
property damage, we must pay for it. If we can't do it, we must explain
our circumstances and make a compromise. And if we commit sin in public,
we must confess the sin before those people. But if we expose a
personal secret, it is not right at all and of course, it is opposed to
Forth, we must separate ourselves from sin.
last thing is to be separated from sins. According to Paul, this means
to turn away from sinning: "they should repent and turn to God and
prove their repentance by their deeds"(Acts 26:20). We now need to walk
on a new path in our new life after we turn away from the sinful and
passionate way we were. We do this by being baptized. Baptism is a
symbol that shows our forgiveness and rebirth and our desire to enter
the Christian Church to live as a Christian.
think about life after repentance. Are we really free from sin after we
have an experience of repentance? No. Satan still wants to tempt and
test those who have repented.
How can we overcome his
temptation? This is the most important thing for those who have
experienced rebirth. The secret is to overcoming Satan's temptation is
this-to make Jesus Christ, who is the power of our life, live in us.
as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in
him"(Colossians 2:6). We must accept Jesus as our Lord, and crucify
ourselves. In other words, when we suppress all our passions and give
ourselves to Jesus each day, we can live our lives in triumph.