5 Reasons You Should Repent – Again and Again

Photo By Ben White

What is repentance? Do Christians need to repent? When was the last time you repented?

As believers, we know that Jesus calls people who have yet to believe in Him (Matthew 4:17) and Christians to repent when they have fallen away from Him (Revelation 2:5; 2:16; 2:21; 3:3; 3:19).

And yet, repentance seems like a rather unpleasant thing that we have to coerce ourselves to do. It’s like taking bitter medicine when we are sick. We don’t want to take it but force it down our throats anyway, because we know it’s supposed to be good for us.

I used to think of repentance in this way, until I realized what repentance really is. In a nutshell, it involves these three things: Recognition of our sin, renunciation of our sin and returning to God.

The more I came to understand what repentance really is, the more I realized that it is, in fact, a wonderful gift by God to us. Here are some reasons why.


1. Repentance lets God restore, forgive and purify us

I used to feel unworthy of God’s forgiveness when I fell into sin. I’d think, “I’m already a Christian and yet I’m still disappointing and failing God in this way. How can I still expect Him to forgive me?”

Thankfully, God assured me by reminding me of this truth: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Since then, I’ve made it a point to confess my sins before God no matter how “unworthy” or “unclean” I might feel, knowing that He will forgive me my sins and purify me, so that I will be righteous before Him again.

Just as God reached out to us before we came to know Him, He is still reaching out to us and calling us to return to Him today if we’ve fallen in sin: “Return to Me, and I will return to you” (Zechariah 1:3, Malachi 3:7). God promises to restore us when we repent of our sins (Jeremiah 15:19).


2. Repentance helps us to be humble

I find that when I have trouble repenting, it’s often because I have pride issues in my life. Pride is spiritual blindness that causes us to think our standards are better than God’s standards.

The opposite of pride is humility, and one definition of it, which I really like, says, “Humility means agreeing with the truth.” Perhaps that is why Paul says that repentance leads us to know the truth so that we can come to our senses (2 Timothy 2:25-26). When I repent and learn to agree with the truth of God’s standards of righteousness and sin, I am growing in humility.

God values humility; He shows favor to those who are humble, but He opposes and mocks those who are proud (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6). So let’s be quick to repent, so that we may grow in humility and receive and enjoy God’s favor.


3. Repentance drives the devil away from us

During the times when I was willfully disobeying God, I found it so much harder to believe God’s truths. Instead, the voices of guilt, doubt, fear and condemnation would ring a lot louder in my heart. Thoughts like, “God doesn’t love you anymore,” “You’ve really blown it this time. God won’t give you a second chance,” and “God has given up on you now” would keep harassing me, giving me no peace.

But when I repented and returned to God, these deceptive whispers of the enemy would start to fade and I’d be more able to perceive and receive the truths of God again.

The Bible tells us, “Submit yourselves . . . to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). In this verse, submission to God means washing our hands and purifying our hearts from sin and double-mindedness (James 4:8).

When we sin, we’re actually giving the devil permission to draw near to us, for “[t]he one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). The enemy is close to those who does what he does (John 8:44). And when he is near us, he “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).

When we submit to God by repenting, we’re proclaiming that we belong to God and we can fight against the devil and his evil influences in our lives.


4. Repentance frees us from the torment of sin

I’ve found this to be true in my life. When I insisted on my own sinful ways, the one who suffered the most was me. Although sin may feel good, it ultimately hurts more than it seems to promise.

And when I wasn’t willing to confess my sins to God and others due to pride and shame, I found myself continuing in my sins because the devil had gained a foothold in my life to ensnare me in the darkness. It’s only when I brought these sins into the light by confessing them to people I trusted, that those sins started to lose their power to further deceive and hurt me.

I’m thankful that God gives us confession and repentance as the means by which we can receive His mercy. Because Jesus is our great high priest who is always interceding for us before God (Hebrews 4:14; 7:25), we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

The Bible gives us this promise: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19). If we do not repent, we will not be able to receive help and relief from the torment of sin.


5. Repentance leads us to fullness of life with Jesus

Sin will lead to spiritual death. God’s Word tells us plainly that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and Jesus said, “unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3). On the contrary, repentance leads to life (Acts 11:18) and salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Ultimately, when we repent, we are inviting Jesus to have fellowship with us. After urging Christians to “be earnest and repent,” Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me” (Revelation 3:19-20).

The immeasurable joy of having intimate fellowship with God is what Jesus won for us through His death and resurrection, so that we “may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). It certainly beats the deceptive and fleeting “joy” of any kind of sin by any measure!

Eternity doesn’t start when we go to heaven. It starts right now with having fullness of life with God, and repentance allows us to have that.


Would you repent and draw near to God today?

ODJ: Jesus and the Junk

April 22, 2016 

READ: Revelation 3:14-22 

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends (v.20). 

We all have that space in the home we would rather no one see—the messy garage, the cluttered study, or maybe, like me, it’s the yard. There are few things more beautiful than a well—kept lot with lush, perfectly mowed grass, neat hedges, and precision—trimmed roses. Our property’s hedges look more like an overgrown jungle and the grass is patchy and dry. So when our pastor’s wife, Mel, offered to help plant the roses she’d given me, I panicked! I was ashamed of our yard.

Just as there are parts of our house and our yard that we may be ashamed of, there are parts of ourselves we keep hidden from others and God. Lustful thoughts, uncontrolled anger, dishonesty—whatever it is, Jesus stands at the door to that shameful place and knocks. He says, “If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20).

The church in Laodicea was complacent and mediocre in all they did. Since they were “neither hot nor cold,” Jesus challenged them to be “one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (3:14—16). They slumbered in the numbness of accumulated wealth and succumbed to self—reliance and indifference towards the most vulnerable in society, so God called them “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (v.17).

My friend Mel showed me that the only way to tame an unkempt garden is by focusing on one manageable spot at a time. Jesus didn’t give up on the church in Laodicea, and He hasn’t given up on you. He knocks on the heavy, locked door of your junkroom, and if you allow Him, He’ll come in to cleanse you and remove your shame (v.18).

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit (v.16).

365-day-plan: 1 Kings 22:29-40

Read Matthew 8:1—3 and Luke 7:36—50, 19:1—10 to see how Jesus drew close to and even touched people viewed as untouchable or undesirable. He’s ready to touch the most shameful places in your heart! 
What are you trying to hide from God and others? How will it affect you and your relationship with Him if you bring your shame to Him? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODJ: cry for help

November 1, 2015 

READ: Isaiah 58:1-12 

When you call, the LORD will answer. “Yes, I am here,” he will quickly reply. Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumours! (v.9). 

David Willis hadn’t been in the bookshop long when he walked downstairs and found the lights were turned off and the doors were locked. He was trapped inside the shop. Being in the age of social media, he cried out for help on Twitter: “Hi. I’ve been locked inside your Trafalgar Square bookstore for 2 hours now. Please let me out.” He was rescued soon after his tweet!

As helpful as Twitter can be, we have Someone more powerful than the social media giant. If you feel trapped and are crying for help, Isaiah has some advice for you—and it may not be what you expect.

The prophet said that God had charged His people with practising their religious devotion irresponsibly (Isaiah 58:1-2). They were going through the motions of religious practices and masking their oppression of the poor with empty and self-serving rituals (vv.3-5). This didn’t win them any divine favour. In fact, God said, “I will not look” and “I will not listen” (1:15).

The Lord told the people through Isaiah that if they had an inner righteousness, evidenced by repentance and outward acts of social righteousness and mercy (58:6-7), His blessings would fall upon them. Among other things, they could call on the Lord as a genuine act of worship, and He would answer their prayers and provide them with His immediate presence (vv.8-9).

Do we desire to hear God say “Here I am” when we cry for help? Then perhaps we should seek to be God’s answer to the prayers of the poor and marginalised in our community. Let’s get close to those who need us and extend the love and compassion of our faithful God. He hears each cry for help and can use us to bring the hope and encouragement they need.

—Marvin Williams

365-day-plan: Acts 16:1-15

Read Isaiah 58:6-9 again and list what God is looking for in terms of social righteousness within the community. 
What behaviours or attitudes towards others could be preventing you from experiencing answered prayer? What do you need to repent of? Who do you know who is crying for God’s help? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODJ: first love

August 26, 2015 

READ: Revelation 2:1-7 

I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! (v.4). 

Growing communities, rooted in God’s love and story, reaching out and restoring lives.

This vision statement was crafted last year by the elders of our local church. They recognised that certain practices and traditions were holding our congregation back from true spiritual vitality in Jesus. The statement has helped guide the elders as they’ve made changes they believe will encourage our people to love God, one another and others better.

Sometimes we can fall in love with practices and traditions at the peril of losing our love for Jesus. He addressed this in the words He gave to the apostle John in the book of Revelation. In chapters 2–3 we find letters for seven churches in which Jesus brought kudos and/or warnings to the congregations.

The church at Ephesus received commendation for “hard work”, “patient endurance”, suffering and the repelling of false teachers (2:2-3). But then Jesus said, “I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first. Look how far you have fallen!” (vv.4-5). The Ephesian believers were faithful, but they had lost their deep love for God and for one another. Perhaps the immense wealth and independence of Ephesus had rubbed off on them or persecution and suffering had worn them down.

What was Jesus’ plaintive and powerful remedy for the church? Turn back to me (v.5).

It’s good for us to take those words to heart as well. What ‘good things’ like traditions and practices have replaced our passion for Jesus? What material things or hardships have robbed us of our love for Him and other believers?

As Paul wrote, without real love we’re “nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). May we turn back to Jesus and His great love today.

—Tom Felten

365-day-plan: Mark 10:35-52

Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and meditate on what it says true love is all about. 
What thoughts and emotions filled your heart and mind when you first received Jesus as your Saviour? How will a deeper love relationship with your “First Love” affect your love for others? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)