Devotional: ‘Truth in the Inner Most Part’


I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do. (Acts 26:20 NLT)

Something that seems to be missing today in much of our Christianity is repentance. To many, repentance sounds like such a stiff word and something that belongs in a tent revival of yester-year. Yet the word repentance is found throughout the Bible. Jesus spoke of repentance and so did Paul and Peter. In Luke 13:5 we read, “Unless you repent, you will perish.”

But what does it mean to repent? Actually the word means – {to have a change of mind}. In military terms it would be – “About-face!” Perhaps it is our shallow understanding and appreciation of the value of repentance that causes us to experience so much trouble in our Christian life.

According to scripture, salvation begins with repentance. Peter preached in Acts 3:19, “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.” According to Peter, there is no forgiveness of sin without repentance. A person cannot receive salvation if he or she continues to live in sin. 1 John 3:7-10 says, “Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.”

The need for repentance doesn’t end at the moment we are saved. The victorious Christian life is based upon a lifestyle of repentance. Consider what Jesus said to the church at Ephesus –

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.”

Jesus warned them that if they did not repent of their backslidden condition, He would come and remove their place from among the churches.

Though the concept of repentance might seem like something harsh, it is actually one of the best things God could demand of us. To grant forgiveness without repentance would be like wrapping a bandage around cancer. God’s forgiveness is not a cover-up; it is holy cleansing that comes through honest confession. “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9 NLT)

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