The Importance of Repentance

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The Importance of Repentance

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We have already learned that we repent by turning away from sin and surrendering our lives to God. Repentance begins with God’s calling—His opening our minds to correctly understand His Word. Then we must pray for His help and begin studying the Scriptures to find out what we need to change. We do this by comparing our beliefs, behavior, customs, traditions and thoughts to the Holy Bible. God’s Word is the only trustworthy standard by which we can measure our attitudes and behavior.

This thorough self-examination process is essential if our repentance is to be genuine, and it may take a considerable amount of our time, especially if we are unfamiliar with the Scriptures. Now let’s see what the Bible says about real repentance and its importance to our relationship with God.

Did Jesus stress the importance of repentance?

“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Luke 5:32 Luke 5:32I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
American King James Version×
).

“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’ ” (Mark 1:14-15 Mark 1:14-15 14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
American King James Version×
; compare Matthew 4:17 Matthew 4:17From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
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Jesus taught that our most important priority should be to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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). From the beginning of His public ministry He stressed that repentance is an integral part of reaching that goal.

Did God’s prophets of old preach repentance?

“And the LORD has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, ‘Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings …’” (Jeremiah 25:4-5 Jeremiah 25:4-5 4 And the LORD has sent to you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but you have not listened, nor inclined your ear to hear. 5 They said, Turn you again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD has given to you and to your fathers for ever and ever:
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Must this same message continue to be preached to the whole world?

“Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘… All things must be fulfilled which were written … concerning Me … Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:44-47 Luke 24:44-47 44 And he said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
American King James Version×
).

The Scriptures show God is consistent. From the beginning He has sent His servants with the same message: “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 18:30-31 Ezekiel 18:30-31 30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, said the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel?
American King James Version×
).

Must everyone repent?

“I tell you … unless you repent you will all … perish” (Luke 13:3 Luke 13:3I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.
American King James Version×
; compare Acts 17:30 Acts 17:30And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent:
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; 2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
American King James Version×
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Eternal life in the Kingdom of God is available only to those who repent of their sins! There are no exceptions, because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
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