Weekly Devotional 7-19-21 What is Godly Repentance?
Throughout Scripture men are asked (are required) to repent of their sins and turn to God, but what is repentance? Is it an emotion that originates in the heart of man or a mental determination that moves him toward God? Emotionalism alone cannot lead to true repentance because, as the wind, emotions are ever changing. They run hot, then cold. Emotions are often spurred to a fever pitch by great speeches, by tragedy or acts of love and may cause one to regret a particular action, but regret is not necessarily repentance. The same could be said of mental determination. One may regret a particular action but when the memory of that action fades so does his mental determination, and he often finds himself involved in the same action(s) again. Godly repentance does consist of these things but there is another necessary element, the work of God upon and in the heart of man. God’s work is the first work and emotionalism and regret follow. The apostle Paul under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote: It is the goodness of God that leads one to repentance (See Romans 2:4).
Ezekiel 36:27 and Jeremiah 31:31-34 are examples of God’s work on behalf of man. Consider:
Ezekiel 36:26-27 “26I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
Jeremiah 31:31-34 “31 Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
These passages refer to the people of Israel and what God will do nationally for them during the last seven years of this dispensation. However, what He will do for Israel nationally at that time He is presently doing in the hearts of individuals as He calls and regenerates them to newness of Spiritual life. As God moves upon the heart, the heart is softened, becomes responsive to His testimony, and the solicitation of the Holy Spirit. Man finds within himself continuously a desire to turn from that which is offensive to God to pleasing Him. Godly repentance results in a change of heart, a change of desire, and a change of direction. It is a turning from that which is of self to that which is of God.
All sin is offensive to God and for the one who experiences Godly repentance known sin will be offensive to him. Unregenerate (the spiritually dead) man is not capable of such repentance, thus this test: Is sin offensive to you?
stevelampman.com / Transforming Power; the Work of God on Behalf of Man