In repentance, a person is not only moved by godly sorrow over actions that offend and displease God to confess them, asking forgiveness, but to also turn from those sins. The New Testament talks about replacing those ungodly actions with their godly opposites. Beyond that, though, the New Testament command us to begin ministering in Jesus’ name in that same area. For example, Paul tells those who are guilty of stealing to not only stop stealing but to work for what they want. Then he goes further and commands them to work until they have an overabundance so that they can share with others who are in need. In another example, we are told to let no unwholesome or ungodly, corrupt speech come from our mouth. Then we are told to replace it with what it is good, giving praise and glory to God. Beyond replacing bad speech with good, we are told to use our speech to edify or build up our fellow believers.
This is the essence of true repentance. Merely feeling sorry and confessing isn’t repentance. Neither is simply replacing the bad with good. It is going beyond and changing habits, starting new ones that advance the cause of Christ that show repentance has taken place. When that occurs we get off the merry-go-round of confessing, crying, promising to do better and spending next week confessing, crying and promising the same old things. We are now doing something positive for God’s Kingdom, ministering to others, changing our lifestyle to reflect that of Christ.
How repentant of your sins are you?