Repentance

Repentance is:

  1. Deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like.
  2. Regret for any past action.

Peter tells everyone to, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus” (Acts 3:19-20)

Paul wrote that “the Lord’s servants must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone…correcting his opponents with gentleness.  God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

But my favorite verse regarding the “if and then” of our relationship with the Father and his desire for us is  2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

I’m a big believer that God has given us the power to overcome all that this life and the world can and will throw at us through HIS word and the power of prayer. As we focus on repentance this month those two come together in a beautiful way in Psalm 51 a prayer of repentance from Gods Word.

A Prayer of Repentance

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy upon me, O God,

According to Your lovingkindness;

According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,

Blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

And cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,

And my sin is always before me.

4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,

And done this evil in Your sight—

That You may be found just when You speak

And blameless when You judge.

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

And in sin my mother conceived me.

6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,

And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Make me hear joy and gladness,

That the bones You have broken may rejoice.

9 Hide Your face from my sins,

And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,

And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,

And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,

And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,

The God of my salvation,

And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

15 O Lord, open my lips,

And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;

You do not delight in burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,

A broken and a contrite heart—

These, O God, You will not despise.

18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;

Build the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,

With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;

Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

And true to Gods promises He honored David’s prayers and repentance and it was said that David was a man after God’s own heart. He loved God’s law. The hand of God was upon him in nearly all he did. Overall, David’s life was an example for us to follow, setting a standard for which we should strive. His sin regarding Uriah and Bathsheba was clearly the exception, rather than the rule:

Because David did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite (1 Kings 15:5).

Another story that inspires us to repent and receive all that God has for us is the story of the prodigal son of the New Testament:

“But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate (Luke 15:17-24).

This son “messed up” completely, and he knew it. He had deserted his family and spent his inheritance. He had no claim to his forsaken sonship. But this son knew his father, and that being his slave was better than being a slave to his heathen employer in that distant country. And so he returned home, confessing his sin and hoping for nothing more than to become a hired servant. The father’s response was gracious, for he gave to this young man what he did not deserve. David, like the prodigal, knew he did not deserve God’s forgiveness or His blessings, and so he did not even ask. He only confessed his sin.

Take time to receive Gods grace for you and to reflect on what He would require of you and I to repent of in order to be set free and receive HIS blessing and forgiveness.