You now proclaim saving faith in Jesus Christ as saviour and Lord after hearing the gospel of God being preached. This could have been when you answered an altar call at a youth conference, evangelical outreach, at church or even at home. You said a prayer of confession, made a decision to follow Jesus Christ and believe you are now born again. This is very great and exciting news and I am delighted beyond measure that God is calling you to himself. As Jesus Christ declared in John 17:3: “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
However, this is not the end of the story. It is only the beginning, for a very important part of saving faith in Jesus Christ is repentance. This is something often not mentioned in the presentation of the gospel of grace. The bible tells us in Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”. What then is the meaning of this word “repentance”?
Repentance is a act of the will, a decision you make to turn back or turn around from the direction you were heading previously and head in a new direction. In the context of salvation and the gospel, it means to turn around from your previous way of living and to turn to a godly way of living. Repentance is the hallmark and seal of genuine conversion of saving faith in Jesus Christ, because when you truly experience the call of God out from the world, it will and must lead to repentance.
How then is repentance demonstrated practically? Repentance takes place first and foremost in your heart. This is felt in an abhorrence of your former sinful lifestyle and a absolute distaste for it. You will experience a loss of pleasure in your heart for many things you loved. Your passion for those things will begin to wane (go down) and you will no longer feel at peace or settled when you engage in them. A repentant heart is truly a heart that has reborn of the Spirit of God.
If you still experience the same passions and pleasure in the old lifestyle you had before you claim to have experienced Christ, then you need to reexamine yourself again. It is no use trying to deceive yourself, because in the matter of salvation, you cannot fake it till you make it. You either are genuinely converted or you aren’t. It is important that I also mention that while repentance is instantaneous in our hearts when you come to Christ, there are aspects of repentance that are also going to continue throughout your christian life as the word of God continues to reveal to you certain aspects of our nature in the flesh.
There are other signs and seals of our new life in Christ that will be covered in the next topics, but if you have truly come to saving faith in Christ, this is the best day of your life. You have come into union with the divine, the eternal, everlasting and almighty God. He has promised you: I will be your God and you will be my people. Amen.
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