REPENTANCE WITH PROOFS ~ Precious Victor Akah
Lots of people claim to have repented and accepted Jesus, but then, it is only by mouth, because their behavior and actions proves otherwise. When you say you have repented, what exactly did you repent from? Think about it. Because repentance means turning – turning away from something and turning to something. True repentance always has an element of turning away from something and turning to something else. So, what did you turn away from and what have you turned to?
From the Scripture (God's Word, the Holy Bible), we see clearly what God Almighty, the Creator, wants all humans on earth to repent from. It says we are to repent from sin and turn to God; in other words, we are to turn away from sin and turn to righteousness.
Acts 3:19 reads, "Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away..." Another translation says, "So turn away from your sins. Turn to God. Then your sins will be wiped away..."
So we're expected by God to first turn from our sins and then turn to Him (God). Unfortunately today, many sinners turn to God when a giant problem, bigger than them, confronts them (but still refuse to turn away from their sins) and then get offended with God if He does not intervene in their situation or answer their prayers.
What's more, several people in the house of God - who go to church every Sunday and sing praises and worship to God, are still yet to turn away from their sins. They turn to God on Sunday, but throughout the week, they're enjoying the pleasures of sin; some even jump right into wild party, fornication, adultery, smoking and drinking right after attending a church service.
Let's hear what Apostle Paul says about this in Acts 26:20. This is the message he received directly from God to preach to all men after being converted (after he himself turned from sin and turned to righteousness). It reads: "First in Damascus and in Jerusalem and then in the whole country of Israel and among the Gentiles, I preached that they must repent of their sins and turn to God and do the things that would show they had repented."
Apostle Paul preached that people should repent of their sins and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds: doing deeds and living lives which are consistent with repentance; prove they have changed by the good things they do.
Since you confessed that you have repented, have you stopped doing the sinful and immoral things you used to do? If you were smoking as a sinner, now that you have repented, you're not expected to still find pleasure smoking or be comfortable with such destructive habit anymore. If you were womanizing or sleeping around with married men/women or fornicating as a sinner, you cannot still be found doing any of these things now that you have repented, because they are improper for God's holy people (Ephesians 5:3).
If you still find pleasure and delight in sinful activities and immoral habits after confession of repentance from sin, you really have not truly repented; for the Scripture expressly writes: "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God" (1 John 3:9). It also says, "So everyone who lives in union with Christ does not continue to sin; but whoever continues to sin has never seen him or known him." 1 John 3:6
Therefore, if you have truly repented from your sins: turned away from sin and turned to God and to righteous living, it will be evident to everyone around you - your friends, your family, your relatives and colleagues. If people around you are doubting your repentance, then it's very possible that your confession is false because you have not truly turned away from sin (in your deeds) for people to see. You're still telling lies; you're still cheating; you're still cursing and using foul and vulgar language; you're still stealing; you're still fighting; you're still dressing indecently; you're still hating, keeping malice and unforgiveness, causing division, slandering, backbiting and backstabbing.
When you repent from sin, you repent totally from all forms of sin, not some sins you feel you can part with while holding on to sins you cherish or cannot let go. You must let go of everything: the lying, the fornication, the adultery, the stealing, the defrauding, the giving and receiving of bribes, the indecent dressing, the envying and jealousy. You must let go of sin in all its forms. This is when people around (who are watching your life) can be fully convinced that you have repented from sin and have turned to righteous living.
In Acts 26:17-18, Paul reiterating what Jesus told him reveals the mind of God to us: "...Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me."
From the Scripture above, God wants sinners to turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God - this is repentance. You are to turn from darkness representing Satan and sin and turn to light representing God and righteousness.
So you have not truly repented in God's eyes (as a sinner) if you only made the decision to stop doing things you personally consider to be bad things and start doing things you consider to be good things. True repentance always requires that you turn from sin in its entirety and turn to God. You must turn to God by faith in Jesus Christ. You must go back to God to receive forgiveness of your sins and be given a place among God's people who are sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus. It is only when you turn to God that your sins will be forgiven according to Acts 3:19 and Acts 26:17-18.
So, have you truly repented? If after reading this you are convinced that you have truly repented, congratulations and glory be to God. But if you're not convinced that you have repented, I implore you today, by the mercies of God, to turn from sin and turn to God; for this is the will of God for every human, including you reading this article right now: "He does not want anyone to perish, but wants everyone to repent." 2 Peter 3:9
The Bible says there is always joy in heaven whenever a sinner repents (Luke 15:7). Let there be rejoicing in heaven today because of you.