Be Transformed Through True Repentance
Kelvin Banda OP – The mercy and forgiveness which God offers us should always be accompanied by our acknowledgement of our sinfulness. This is the essence of repentance: recognising our sinfulness.
The expression “to repent” relates to the Greek word metanoia which stresses a change of attitudes from which we experience a transformation — a circumcision of one’s heart before God; a U-turn to God, abandoning what’s wrong to doing right and living a Christian life of obedience; a liberation from sin.
This requires great faith in God who forgives and shows mercy unconditionally.
Repentance and faith can be seen as two sides of the same coin. It is impossible to place our faith in Jesus Christ as the Saviour without first changing our mind about who Jesus Christ is and what Christ can do for humanity.
A repentance rooted in solid faith in Jesus Christ results in a change of behaviour, from living a life of hypocrisy to living a life of justice.
There must be a change of actions as a result of faith in our Saviour Jesus Christ who was sent by God to redeem us from all our sins. Repentance in good faith means turning from all which opposes God’s commandments, and turning to the way of life called for by God’s law, which involves mainly the Ten Commandments.
During this Lenten Season, let 1 John 4:20 remind us: “He who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”
If repentance means to truly love God, then it must also mean that we truly love our brothers or sisters — God and our neighbour in mutuality — to fulfil the law, to keep God’s commandments and to worship God in truth.
True faith produces repentance, just as it produces love. Since grace produces repentance just as surely as it produces a righteous standing before God, repentance in good faith is the surest sign that one has been forgiven.
Nevertheless, that parallel is not because our repentance causes God’s forgiveness; it is as a result of God’s forgiveness that breaks the hold of sin in us and so sets us on the path of righteousness.
God’s forgiveness causes repentance, and that’s why repentance is the evidence of faith and of justification. Repentance is a gift of the God. It is part of the glory of the Gospel.
What God rightly requires of us but we could not do, God gives us when he forgives us and unites us with our beloved brother, Jesus Christ.
Thus, true repentance, done in faith and believing in the mighty power of God, is necessary for salvation.
Biblical repentance is changing our mind about Jesus Christ and turning to God in faith for salvation (Acts 3:19).
Turning from sin is not the definition of repentance, but it is one of the results of genuine, faith-based repentance towards the Lord Jesus Christ.
And this is an ongoing project in our lives.
This Lenten season, may God call us sinners from our living death of sin and resurrect us to repentance that we may rest in and enjoy God’s forgiveness.
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