Why Is Repentance Is
Essential To A Spiritual Life?
BIBLE READING: Luke
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Here is a sample of John’s preaching to the
crowds that came for baptism:
“You brood of snakes! Who warned you
to flee God’s coming judgment? Prove by the way you live that you have really turned
from your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say, ’We’re safe-we’re the descendants
of Abraham.’ That proves nothing. God can change these stones here into children of
Abraham.” (Luke 3:7-8)
Repentance Opens The Real and Only Way For
Relationships With God
Repentance has two sides-turning away from sins
and turning toward God. To be truly repentant, we must do both. We can’t just say
that we believe and then live any way we choose; neither can we simply live a morally
correct life without a personal relationship with God, because that cannot bring
forgiveness from sin. Determine to rid your life of any sins God points out, and put
your trust in him alone to guide you.
Repentance Demonstrates A Person With Real
Confession of sins and a changed life are inseparable. Faith
without deeds is dead (James 2:14-26).
Jesus’ harshest words were to the respectable religious leaders
who lacked the desire for real change. They wanted to be known as religious
authorities, but they didn’t want to change their hearts and minds. Thus their lives
were unproductive. Repentance must be tied to action, or it isn’t real. Following
Jesus means more than saying the right words; it means acting on what he says.
KEY BIBLE VERSE: In those days John the Baptist began
preaching in the Judean wilderness. His message was, “Turn from your
sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
Repentance Makes An Inward Change A Visible
When you wash dirty hands, the results are immediately visible.
But repentance happens inside with a cleansing that isn’t seen right away. So John
used a symbolic action that people could see: baptism.
The Jews used baptism to initiate converts, so John’s audience was
familiar with the rite. Here, baptism was used as a sign of repentance and
forgiveness. Repent means “to turn,” implying a change in behavior. It is
turning from sin toward God. Have you repented of sin in your life? Can others see
the difference it makes in you? A changed life with new and different behavior makes
your repentance real and visible.
KEY BIBLE VERSE: The leading priests decided to kill Lazarus,
too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed
in Jesus. (John 12:10-11)
Repentance Breaks Our Bondages To Sin
The chief priests’ blindness and hardness of heart caused them to
sink ever deeper into sin. They rejected the Messiah and planned to kill him, and
then plotted to murder Lazarus as well. One sin leads to another. From the Jewish
leaders’ point of view, they could accuse Jesus of blasphemy because he claimed
equality with God. But Lazarus had done nothing of the kind. They wanted Lazarus dead
simply because he was a living witness to Jesus’ power. This is a warning to us to
avoid sin. Sin leads to more sin, and this downward spiral can be stopped only by
repentance and the power of the Holy Spirit to change behavior.