Repentance is an act of regret for something bad we have done in the past and sincerely wish that we could change it. Mankind does have a conscience, a moral sense of right and wrong which acts as a guide to one’s behaviour. When the guidance of our conscience is not adhered to, we feel guilty of what we did and the guilt fills our mind with the fear of facing its consequences. When we repeatedly ignore the guidance of our conscience, we will be accustomed to our evil desires and pretty soon we will stop bothering about the consequences of our actions.
Sense of Right and Wrong
In the garden of Eden, God kept the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and commanded Adam not to eat the fruit of the tree. Disobeying God’s command, Adam and Eve ate the fruit of it and gained the sense of right and wrong. From that time onwards, God in His mercy gave His Spirit of discernment to mankind, a guide for decision making.
For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
A Guilty Conscience
Most people think that obeying the spirit of discernment is an act of a coward person. Deliberate and prolonged ignorance of the guidance of the Spirit with regards to discernment may result in God withdrawing His spirit from our lives. Understanding this truth, David pleads to God to not take away His Spirit from him.
We are constantly discouraged by satan, when he reminds us of our sins and makes us feel guilty. He will try to end our lives before we get rid of our guilt. He often deceives us by telling that we are not worthy of asking God forgiveness and motivates us to sin while at the same time, he appears before God and accuses us day and night.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.Revelation 12:10
When we commit sin, our heart will condemns us. This could have been avoided, if we had responded to God’s prompt at the initial stage itself. God prompts us to realize our guilt but satan blinds our eyes not to realize it. God helps us to come out of our sins instantly but satan tries to trap us in our sins. God and satan both are working in our conscience with different purposes. The former wants to save us while the latter wants to kill us (John 10:10).
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.2 Corinthians 7:10
Jesus, who is sitting on the right side of His Father, pleads mercy for us day and night. He tells His Father that He has shed His Holy blood as an atonement for our sins. Jesus unceasingly prays to His Father, day and night, for us. Our God who is watching over us will neither slumber nor sleep.
God Knows Everything
Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves. He has an account of every sin we had committed and also the sins we are going to commit. Jesus told Peter when he would deny Him. He died for us, while we were sinners and made forgiveness freely available to us. So, we don’t have to carry any guilt in our conscience.
God knows that we could not have overcome our inequities. He knows that we cannot withstand His wrath and we will perish. Hence, He sent His only Son, who is without sin, to quench His wrath. God, the author of the Redemption Story is greater than our conscience.
even if our conscience condemns us, that God is greater than our conscience, and He knows all things.1 John 3:20
Why should we repent?
When we know that the other person is aware of what we did, we simply accept our mistake without making any more baseless statements. When God knows each and every one of our mistakes, then how much more do we have to repent and confess our sins?
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.Proverbs 29:25
Without repentance we cannot receive forgiveness; whereas forgiveness is freely available to us even before we repent. We repent publicly, concealing our sins, to get approval in the sight of others. We fear what people may think about us while ignoring what God will think of us. We fear about our image rather than the image of God.
Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?Job 40:8
Moreover, when we repent, we open our hearts for Jesus to come in and there will be a joyful celebration in heaven. Simultaneously, satan loses his grip in our lives. Most of us do not even realise that satan has a grip in our lives. The following symptoms may ascertain satan’s grip over our lives.
Frequent feeling of fatigue and gloominess, a sense of withdrawal, negative thoughts, murmuring and losing interest in job and our day-to-day work, are some of the symptoms to understand satan’s hold in our lives. Usually, evil spirits do not want to come out of a person, because by staying in the person’s body, they will hinder the work of God’s word in that persons life and as well as in the surrounding areas.
While we repent, the evil ones get to know that they cannot continue staying and they will be crying to God not to send them away from that area. For this reason, we should pray for a complete transformation, when we repent. Through our repentance, not only we but the surrounding area will also be sanctified to fulfil the works of God.
And he (Legion) begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.Mark 5:10
In Genesis Chapter 44, Joseph recognized his brothers and cleverly pursued them to leave Benjamin with him, whom his father Jacob loved. Joseph was expecting his brothers to tell him that they had sold him as a slave. If they would have told this truth, Joseph was eager to reveal himself to his brothers saying that he is alive. Joseph had already accepted them back but they refused receive that forgiveness through their absence of a genuine repentance.
Even after the death of Jacob, as they did not receive the forgiveness through genuine repentance, they told that Jacob asked Joseph to forgive them on his death bed. They told this, because they were afraid of Joseph that at any point of time he may kill them. Lack of genuine repentance instils fear in our hearts as the Spirit of God is not living in us.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.1 John 1:8-10
For Joseph’s brothers, Joseph was the one who was next to the King. Because of guilt, they were unable to recognize him as their brother. If we do not repent genuinely, we will see Jesus as the one who is sitting next to His Father waiting to throw us in prison. But if we sincerely repent, we can see Him as our elder brother, who is alive and we will accept Him as our Saviour.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9
Till the time of our genuine repentance, we may cite the empty tomb as a proof of Jesus’s resurrection, as our hearts are empty. If we repent genuinely, resurrected Jesus will start reigning in our hearts. Our transformed life will be the proof of His resurrection. We will be hearing Jesus saying to us,
I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.Revelation 1:18
The wages for our sins were paid in full by Jesus and He is encouraging us that as He has won over death, we also will be overcoming it and as He lives forever, we will also be living with Him for eternity.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.John 14:18-19