"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

A Steady March Toward God

 By Richard Owen Roberts 

    At no time throughout the entire New Testament does the dominant theme of repentance disappear.  Even the Revelation of Jesus Christ given to John on the Isle of Patmos focused on the urgent necessity of repentance in five of the seven letters sent to the churches of Asia. 

    Why is so little heard on this subject in our day?  How can we explain the existence of so many professing Christians in our churches who are not repentant?  How can so many ministers justify their failure to make earnest calls to repentance a constant theme in their preaching when both the New Testament requires it and the lives of their people demonstrate its need?  With spiritual declension on every hand, with moral corruption rolling over the nation like a tidal wave, can there be any biblical doctrine more needed now than repentance?

    What is repentance?  First and foremost, repentance is not any single thought or act.  Repentance is not something once done and forever accomplished.  Repentance is an ongoing process.  One must be forever repentant.  It is not enough to have once felt sorrow over sin.  No single change of mind will suffice.  No individual act of self-abasement will meet the biblical requirement.  True repentance affects the whole man, alters the entire lifestyle and does not cease.

    In genuine biblical repentance one does not merely seek to escape the wrath of God or the guilt of conscience.  The repentant person turns from all that displeases God toward that which pleases Him.  The repentant individual turns his back upon sin and himself in faith turns to Jesus Christ.  This turning from sin and self toward Christ is and must be a continuing process.  It is not enough to have once turned from sin toward Christ.  The turning is a day-by-day, year-after-year process of refusing to follow sin and self and of deliberately following Christ.

    The truly penitent will be able to say not just “I repented,” but “I am repentant!”

    Biblical repentance is a permanent change of direction.  Think of a person walking one way.  He realizes he is going where he does not wish to be, turns around completely, and goes in the opposite direction.  Everyone starts out life going the wrong way.  By his very nature, man is a sinner on his way to destruction.  Every sin and selfish act places the sinner closer to his eternal destination.  In repentance, he experiences a complete about-face.  Turning toward heaven, Christ and righteousness, the repentant individual begins to move with new purpose and resolve in the right direction.

    True biblical repentance is known to exist when a person sets his face like a flint toward the City of God and no temptations toward sin and self are sufficient to cause him to abandon his steady march toward God.

    – Condensed from the book Revival by Richard Owen Roberts.  Copyright © 1982.  Used by permission.