The gift of repentance
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17 (ESV)
According to Wikipedia, repentance is reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs, which is accompanied by commitment to and actual actions that show and prove a change for the better. For a Christian it is when the believer acknowledges and turns away from sin.
In Luke 13:3-5 Jesus warns that “…unless you repent, you will all likewise perish…” It is repeated again for emphasis (v.5). But in reality God is not willing that anyone should perish: ‘The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.’ (2 Peter 3:9 emphasis mine).
We cannot make ourselves repent by being sorry for the wrong things that we have done because true repentance is a gift from God: ‘…do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4 NKJV).
It is clearly God’s will that we receive, or we be granted, the gift of repentance and we can go to God in believing prayer and request this gift. And because it is God’s will for us to repent of sins, the prayer will be answered, the request will be granted: ‘And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.’ (1 John 5:14-15 ESV).
In addition we pray in Jesus’s name. And Jesus tells us: “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14).
So we can pray with confidence for the gift of repentance, and it will be granted.
Eternal Father, thank you that I can come into your presence and let all of my requests be made known to you. Please grant to me the gift of repentance. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Study by Sherwin Scott
About the writer:
Sherwin Scott is a deacon in the Lewes congregation of Grace Communion International.
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