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Beginning Bible Studies (15 Lessons)
Lesson 9 – Repentance
The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent: inasmuch as he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:30,31).
God has commanded all men to repent. On the Last Day everyone who has ever lived will appear before Christ in judgment. If we have failed to obey God’s command to repent of our sins, we will be lost forever. Therefore, it is very important that we learn the meaning of repentance.
WHAT IS REPENTANCE?
But what think ye? A man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in the vineyard. And he answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented himself, and went. (Matthew 21:28,29).
This parable teaches us the meaning of repentance. At first, the son in the parable refused to obey his father’s command to work in the vineyard. Later, he changed his mind and went to work. All of us are like the son in the parable. We have disobeyed God’s commands many times. But when we stop disobeying God and begin to do His will, we have repented.
Repentance is a change of mind. It is a decision to stop doing wrong and to begin doing right. When a person repents, he changes his life completely. He decides that he will no longer rebel against God. He will obey the commands of God. One’s repentance will be seen in the good works that he does. One who has truly repented will try to please God in everything.
WHAT CAUSES REPENTANCE?
For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, a repentance which bringeth no regret: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Repentance is caused by godly sorrow. When a person realizes he has sinned by disobeying God, he becomes sorry for what he has done. This sorrow for his sin will lead the person to turn away from his sin. Thus, godly sorrow (being sorry for disobeying God) causes one to repent.
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Romans 2:4)
God is good to us. He has given us Jesus, His Son, to die for our sins. He has given us the Bible to tell about the way to eternal life. When we realize how good God is to us, we should be ashamed to disobey Him. Our sorrow for disobeying our Father will cause us to repent of our sins.
THE FRUITS OF REPENTANCE
Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham (Luke 3:8).
These words were spoken by John the Baptist. The people of Israel thought they were saved simply because Abraham, God’s faithful servant, was their father. John told them that they must prove that they had repented. We prove that we have repented by doing good works. Before repenting, we do evil deeds. After repenting, we must do good deeds.
Suppose a man has a fruit tree in his garden. If the tree does not produce good fruit, he will cut it down and use it for firewood. But if the tree produces good fruit, he will save it. If we turn from our sins but do not do good works in their place, we will still be lost. But if we produce good works, God will love us and save us.
HAVE YOU REPENTED?
What about you? Have you repented of your sins? Are you producing the fruits of repentance? If not, you are lost forever! Christ will reject you on the last day.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Obey God’s commands:
Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).