Change Is So Much More
Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. — Acts 2:38-39
Peter's call to repentance here is a theme that repeats throughout the book of Acts. And while there are important things that follow, like forgiveness, baptism, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit — it all beings with one word, repentance.
But I have found many misunderstand what this word means and thus miss out on all the benefits.
Repentance is not to be confused with confession. Now, confession is a part of repentance, but it only captures part of the action. When we make a confession what we are acknowledging is wrongdoing. And in confession, we verbalize this wrongdoing to the person we always offend — God. But really confession is just acknowledging something God already knows. God is not surprised by our sin when we confess it to him, rather he wants us to verbalize and acknowledge the wrong we have done to him. And this is a component of repentance. But repentance is more.
The word repentance involves two additional components. The first component is a genuine feeling of remorse. In other words, repentance is never something that can be coerced or manufactured. When a person repents they will feel genuine guilt. The second component is a permanent change of action. Repentance is followed by a decision to discontinue a bad behavior forever and initiate new ones in its place. It is not a feeling of guilt devoid of action.
But here is the tricky part. The only person that can repent is you. While confession can be coerced and manufactured, repentance cannot. Only an individual can embrace remorse. Only an individual can change their course of action. But when you do — this is repentance. And when done, it results in some pretty spectacular things — a public display of commitment in baptism, forgiveness by God, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
So what is a feeling of guilt weighing on you? Have you considered a change of action? Let's repent together!
ASK THIS: What feeling of guilt do you need to confess and what change of action is needed in your life today? (Share it in the comments below)
DO THIS: Share your decision below by completing this statement — "God I repent of..."
PRAY THIS: God, I repent of...
PLAY THIS: I Surrender.
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