From the Pillar of Fire at night to the risen Savior, no other expression answers the call of God like REPENTANCE.
We hear it repeated over six dozen times beginning from the oldest books of Scripture:
“He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil”,
to the words recorded by the wisest man on earth:
“Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings”.
In a word, this is what God says to those who struggle with a broken human nature:
“Therefore say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent!
It was the starting point of the ministry of John the Baptist:
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’”
It was also the starting point for Jesus’ incarnational ministry:
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’”
When the Apostle Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost, when all the believers had been dramatically filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in languages that all foreigners could understand at the same time, he convicted many in the crowds to turn to God with these foundational words of Christianity:
“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.”
Even the man of Grace, the champion of the New Covenant, the Apostle Paul defined his own preaching with the same emphasis:
“I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”
(and if this were not clear enough in how Paul characterized his entire ministry, he rephrases the timeline of his ministry again):
“First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.”
It has become the universal command to all mankind, regardless as to their upbringing or past views:
“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”
And then, as if by Divine climax, the risen and glorified Jesus reveals his single most repeated command (5x) to Christians in the seven churches recorded in Revelation with these words:
“Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
Understanding repentance is key to knowing God, rightly viewing the Gospel, and even to receiving the gift of Grace.
As part of my weekly ministry to inmates in prison, I put the book “Discovering Repentance” together to give away for free to those who recognize their brokenness and are searching for real freedom. Special thanks to all those who willingly reviewed the book and took time to offer their input and corrections.
If you’re interested, you can purchase the book through most outlets.
The ebook is available for less than $3 and the paperback for under $10 through the printer Lulu.com:
Or you can find it on Amazon.com
Or you can order it through your favorite book outlet store.
If, after you read it yourself, you are moved to share it with dozens of others, let me know and I can ship it to you for cost. I pay for all the books I personally hand out to prisoners, and my fellow laborers pay for the cost of the book as part of their willingness to sacrifice in some small way to provide grace and hope to the hurting that they serve.
For me, I hand it out as part of my prison ministry and also when I feel it is appropriate when openly evangelizing. You may find it effective for use in recovery groups or youth ministries or even in baptismal counseling.
If you wish to donate toward this ministry, my suggestion is to contact a chaplain of a prison or similar institution and gain interest and approval to send them copies of this book. You can then contact me and order a box and have it shipped to them to hand out for free as they are led.
As it has been said of all the faithful listed above, so may it be recorded of me, that in my little world of service in the Kingdom of God, I promoted Repentance for freedom in Christ.