If you haven’t yet read my previous blog, I would encourage you to read it alongside this one. It gives a glimpse into repentance as a key part of being a person after God’s own heart.
The act of repentance is pivotal to the Christian walk. We cannot follow Jesus apart from repentance. It is this act that moves us into who we are as a new creation in Christ. We must leave behind our old ways, which separated us from God, and turn to righteous living with Christ. It is a big part of the life of a disciple. We are to be continually stepping into a more complete life with Christ.
I am so thankful for those who have walked me through the process of repentance. Throughout my life I knew it was important, but it wasn’t until the process was broken down that I really found life through it. For so long I would say sorry and hope to not continue sinning, but there was so much more to discover.
It took realizing that in repentance Jesus takes away the entire penalty of sin and invites us into a life that is completely free. The weight and punishment of sin, the shame, is no longer there on the other side of repentance. The cross acts like a filter, removing all that is tainted by the sin we are repenting of. There is nothing left on us on the other side of the cross.
Repentance is the act of turning away from what separates us from God and turning towards him. It hinges on the cross, where the penalty of our sin is nailed with Jesus. On the cross he took the punishment, the weight of our sin. Repentance is the transaction of that, where we choose to hand our sin over and step into resurrection life with Jesus.
This process is not just confession, however. Confession is an outward acknowledgment of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It is key but not the entirety. “Confess your sins one to another so you may be healed.” James 5:16
I spent a year interning at a church in Fresno California. They had an incredible process for walking through repentance using 6 R’s. I hope this process is as impactful in your life as it has been in mine. May it bring freedom to many new areas of your life.
The first R is: Recognize the nature of God in light of your sin. We need to understand that what we are repenting of is actually in opposition to the nature of God. We are looking to understand what God is inviting us into. Our new life reflects his nature. How does our sin oppose the nature of God?
Repent Of the sin. At this stage we need to remember and repent of how we have sinned. This can take a while. Take time to list the actions of sin. There could be many. Allow God to remind you of them, and say, “God, I repent of these actions.” Repent of the heart behind them. Ask God to reveal the biblical name for the sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21 are helpful here).
Renounce the lies of the enemy. What is causing you to live in sin? What are you believing that is keeping you in this life opposed to Christ? It is important to take time to ask God. What am I believing that is causing me to act this way? When did this start in my life?” For each lie exposed, renounce it and speak over yourself the biblical truth in contrast.
Receive the forgiveness that is freely offered. Forgiveness does not need to be earned, but rather received. This is an important step though. The ploy of the enemy is to make us feel as though we still need to earn forgiveness and that steals the power of the cross away from us. I love to look at Psalm 103:7-12 at this stage. Remember the cross completely satisfies the penalty of our sin when we hand it over.
Release the Holy Spirit to do his work in your life. As the house is cleaned out, an empty house leaves room for the old to return. Releasing the Holy Spirit to do his work fills that place. Repentance is a turning away from what separates us and turns us to life in the Spirit. This invites new life to take place.
Rejoice in your freedom! Rejoice for who God is! Rejoice in your new life! Rejoice with others too! Testimony is so important. It leaves no room for the enemy to steal the freedom we are now walking in. It builds our faith and our joy while inviting others into the same freedom!