In Acts 17:30, the Bible tells us that God once winked at the ignorance of men but now (this day and time) “Commandeth all men everywhere to repent!” What does this word “repent” mean? Does it mean we must be sorry for our sins? Yes, it does, but that is not all it means.
There are many people who are sorry for the wrong things they have done. They tell themselves, “I will stop doing wrong.” They may be sorry because they are now facing the consequences of their wrongdoing. They have been found out. There are others who are sorry for doing wrong because they have been caught in the act and must now pay the price for their deeds.
Jesus said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3) He was telling the people that bad things happen to everyone, even good people, but this is not the worst thing that could happen! He was talking about being lost from God, about being doomed to hell. There is a physical death, which we all experience, and there is a spiritual death, which we do not have to experience, because Jesus took our place on the cross.
To repent of our sins means to turn away from them. The scriptures say, “For Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10) When we are truly sorry for our sins we will repent not only with our mouths, but with our hearts and our actions.
We will then turn away from the things that cause us to sin and turn to God, who gives us all we need to live above sin. We also read in the Bible, “That if (you) shall confess with (your) mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in (your) heart that God has raised Him from the dead (you) shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)
To be born again, we must confess our sins to Jesus and believe in who He is, the only begotten Son of God! He paid the penalty for our sins (wrongdoing) and made a way for us to be free from sin. We must repent and turn away from all sin.
Jesus is coming back to the earth and every one of us shall stand before Him. He will either say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.” Or “Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire.” Which do you want to hear Him say? Repent and believe the Gospel (the Good News) and you shall be saved. God bless you!
Linda Taylor is assistant pastor of Home Fellowship Church in Shafter.