The call of Jesus to "repent and believe" begins to be more tangible and understood when I see the difference in a true and total change of heart and mind.
"Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance." Romans 2:4 I wan to never take lightly God's amazing kindness, tolerance, and patience. But on a given day, how lightly I often consider and think upon these incredible things!
Repentance proves I do not take his kindness, tolerance, and patience lightly.
But why Acts 2:38: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins." Why Acts 17:30: "IN the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent." So why repent if God has already forgiven our transgressions, forgotten our sins and thrown them as far as the east is from the west? The answer lies in 2 Corinthians chapter 7. Verses 9-11 read, "yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and LEAVES NO REGRET...see what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, WHAT LONGING, WHAT CONCERN...AT EVERY POINT YOU HAVE PROVED YOURSELVES TO BE INNOCENT IN THIS MATTER."
This passage presents to us how important our repentance...our "Godly sorrow" is. It shows us that repentance "leaves no regret." It proves and assures that our being forgiven was not in void. Our repentance proves that we are not just taking advantage of and milking the grace we are given. It shows our "longing, our concern." Our repentance shows that the relationship is important enough for us to eagerly pursue even through our sorrowful repentance. Only then are we able to be proved innocent "at every point."
FORGIVENESS FORGETS FAULT
REPENTANCE REPAIRS RELATIONSHIP
A REFUGE is somewhere you go to escape danger.
My God, I want to take refuge in your mercy, your grace, and your love to escape the danger of what my sins deserve. I want to escape the dangers of my own conscience and its bent toward shame and guilt. I want to take refuge in your love, mercy, grace, and hope to escape the things which would otherwise plague my heart, mind and soul.
REPENT TO REFUGE I turn away deliberately from sin and toward you and the refuge I can only find in you
"Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you...He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you." -Isaiah 30:18-19 God waits for us! It is nice to know and yet, at the same time, unnerving to know that God waits to be gracious to us. We are inclined to wonder, "What is he waiting for?" I mean, come on God; go ahead and be gracious to me.
John Wesley reflected on this "waiting" by saying that God "patiently expects your repentance." God sits and waits for our repentance. He waits for us to repent, but he waits to be gracious. He is already prepared for his response to our repentance. He waits to be gracious. He already knows he will "rise up to show us compassion and mercy." God waits!
God patiently waits...for us. he is prepared to be gracious and merciful to us. That is his plan...when we repent. He "will surely be gracious to us AT THE SOUND OF OUR CRY." The outcome is already determined; grace and mercy. The only thing missing is the action; our repentance.. We are promised that God will hear our repentance and answer us with grace, compassion, and mercy.
Grace is available to the repentant. Every day grace is available to the every day repentant. Repentance is a daily discipline, not a one time shot. Each day we should ask that God search our hearts and reveal any wickedness, injustice, or lack of integrity within us. When he reveals those things to us, which is inevitably present, we must repent of those things. We cannot then avoid what we know is there.
Psalm 7:12-16 reveals the self-inflicted pain and consequence for the person who refuses to repent. Its like he has dug his own inescapable hole to fall into.
We are to repent, and when God answers with mercy and ridiculous grace, we must give thanks and never take it for granted, even with every day repentance.