Acts 2:38 ¶ Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Repentance is not a very popular word. Actually it is greatly misunderstood. Repentance is more than just a decision to change your ways, it is entirely supernatural. It starts when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sinful condition and convinces us of our need of a Savior. He attracts us to the mercy offered to us in Christ and as we embrace His love, He begins to do an amazing work in the deepest part of our being. He begins to do the unthinkable, He actually begins to change the very desires of our hearts. We are profoundly attracted to spiritual things and become strangely repulsed by our previous sinful behavior. Delighting in God becomes our testimony and a proof that repentance is at work in our souls. Arthur Wallis spoke of the need for repentance in his book from over fifty years ago. It sounds like the “modernism” of the fifties is the same as the “relevantism” of our current world. Check this out.
“Under the ministry of these early preachers, people did not decide to become Christians simply because this was a desirable or respectable thing to do or because Christianity appeared more attractive and to offer better dividends than living for the world. There was no suggestion that salvation was just a course of expediency, an insurance policy for eternity or a good bargain that any sensible man ought to make with his God. No, indeed; they were led to repent because they saw their desperate plight. They were convicted of their shameful rebellion against God, whose laws they had broken and whose Son they had crucified. They were indeed “weighed in the balances and found wanting.” They were lost and undone, and more than ready, when a loving Savior was presented to them, to flee to Him for refuge against the wrath of a holy God.
There is so much emphasis today on believing, receiving and deciding, and so little on the vital step of repenting. We need to beware of reducing conversion to a technique, for a person can be persuaded to go through the motions of accepting Christ while the conscience remains unawakened, the will unmoved and so “the heart unchanged. The apostles felt that their labor was in vain if their converts did not stand fast”
As much as we try to convince ourselves that mankind is advancing we still come face to face with the truth found in the ancient scriptures. Jer.17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” We still have the same problems, God still has the same solutions. The only solution to the quagmire of sin that we often find ourselves in is that same old unpopular word; repentance. We may not like the sound of it but God’s work of repentance in our souls brings us into the place of radical joy found in our Savior’s love.