Repentance… BUT NOT… From Sin?
Does That Even Sound Right To You?
Matthew 9:13 “But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.“
Lamentations 5:21 “Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.”
Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
When people say that “Repent and believe the Gospel” does not mean, or include, repenting of sin… they lie. It’s that simple, they are lying to you. To repent doesn’t just mean to change your mind about facts concerning who Christ is, and what he has done for the salvation of His people. No, to repent is to have a turning of the mind, a changing of the heart, one that says:
‘All of my former ways/desires/beliefs/transgressions warrant eternal damnation, they are all an affront to God, and they are all part of the very reason why the Lord Jesus Christ hung on the cross. I want nothing to do with those things any more, they are dung to me… all I want is Christ, His Kingdom, felt communion with Him (and the Triune Godhead in/by/through Him), and blessed fellowship with His people.’
However, repenting doesn’t mean that you will have the ability to see this desire perfectly fulfilled in this life; you won’t even come close to perfection. You will likely experience periods where you grow cold, indifferent, and whether you look back on the affections stated above and think “what happened to all my zeal, my intents and purposes, my longing for Christ and his kingdom?” Yes, we may have to confess that we fall far short of where we should be, and yet, true repentance nevertheless states:
“I would fully forsake all of my sin, all of my personal wants and ambitions, all of my lusts and desires — even right now — if I had the strength to do so, seeing that I want nothing to stand in the way of felt fellowship between me and my God.”
So repentance does not hold back, it does not willingly forsake all BUT SOME sin (or some goal/proclivity/idol). Repentance is evidenced by a desire, after the inward man, to forsake everything for Christ, even if the good that we would, we do not… and the evil we would not, that we do.
Sadly, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, and the Christian does give in at times (often many times depending on the indulgence). This is why we should pray, if we are His, to be strengthened, more and more, in the Spirit so that we may walk in, by, and after the Spirit of God, and bear much fruit (Lord willing).