Why Is Repentance Important?

Why Is Repentance Important?

Repentance isn’t one of those popular topics to discuss for most people. In fact, a lot of followers of Christ (me included) often push this subject to the back of the line behind other current trending ones. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we don’t want to offend people or “judge” them. Are we more concerned with how we might offend others or if we are offending God? Are we really loving others if we are content as they continue to sin? Why is repentance important?

All throughout the Bible we see people being called to repentance. God, Jesus, Paul, the Prophets, etc. all were involved in clearly communicating to others to repent. Repentance is not just believing in God (even the demons believe, James 2:19), but rather as we believe and make a decision to trust and follow Christ, we will repent (turn from) our old ways. We will begin to live as new creations and let the old pass away (2 Corinthians 5:17). If repentance is not involved in the life of a believer, then that person is not a believer. It’s impossible to decide to follow Christ and not turn from old sinful ways.

“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

God’s desire is that we all would reach repentance. He’s not slow. He does not delay. He knows exactly what He’s doing and His character more and more in the Bible reveals just how much He loves us. He is patient towards all of us and shows His great mercy as we continue to fall short each day.

“God hasn’t held off lighting the match for eternal fire because He finds our sins tolerable but rather because He is patient in giving sinners an opportunity for repentance before the burning begins.” – Mark Driscoll, A Call To Resurgence

Being Too Hard On Repentance

You may have experienced this scene for yourself, but imagine a bullhorn and someone in your face screaming, REPENT. Well, that sure is one way of preaching repentance to others, but probably won’t be the most effective way.

If we are only proclaiming repentance without anything to do with the love of Christ or what He has done, then we’ve missed it. I’m sure at times emotions can get the best of us, but that doesn’t give us the right to not love others and to miss the Gospel. The Holy Spirit will provide self control in the midst of our conversations with others where we can love others and still be stern about repentance at the same time.

If you’ve been the preacher in this instance, remind yourself of the Gospel. Remind yourself of the patience and mercy you receive everyday from Christ and show that same love towards others. If you’ve been the receiver of this before, don’t forget you do still need to repent. Just because someone yelled at you, doesn’t necessarily mean they were wrong.

Being Too Soft On Repentance

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we can be too soft on calling people to repent. Whether it be ourselves or others, we find ourselves in situations where others let us know about their continuing sin and they feel bad and all, but continue to act in the same manner. We give them a pat on the back, tell them it’ll be ok, then watch this play out over and over again.

I think being too soft is common for most of us. I know I find myself in this arena more than anything else because I don’t want to offend others. I don’t want to be “mean” by calling out their sin and trying to help love them towards repentance. Other times, it’s frankly just messy and I don’t want to spend time on it. But what does that mean then? It seems like I’m worshipping myself and I’m more concerned of offending others than offending God.

We have got to be able to give each other a wake up call. Maybe we need to be stern with how we interact with others. Maybe we actually need to shake each other at times. I’m not too sure, but one thing’s for sure…if we witness someone about to walk into a fire…would we not do everything we could to stop them? I believe we need to take that same intentionality and stop being too soft with others when it comes to repentance.

We Must Stand Firm And Call People To Repentance

“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith…” – Hebrews 10:39

We must practice repentance before preaching it. If we truly believe what Christ did was enough, and that His love never fails, how could we not repent from our sins? If we followed Christ and lived in a way that never involved us turning away from our sins, then we are really proclaiming what Jesus did on the cross was not enough. He paid it all at Calvary for us. His love is never-ending. His forgiveness is for all past, present, and future sins. When we pray, He is there. When we cry out to Him, He is there. When we repent, He is there.

“Packer pointed out that at the very top of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses nailed to the Wittenberg door was this statement: “All of a Christian’s life is one of repentance.” That statement was not only the heart cry of the Protestant Reformation but was also the herald of every prophet God has ever sent. Packer explained that the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is repentance, and any theology that does not call people to repent is heresy.” – Mark Driscoll, A Call To Resurgence

As Luther said, “All of a Christian’s life is one of repentance.” As we continue on one day at a time, we must not shrink back from calling others to repentance. When we don’t repent, it offends God (since sin does), repentance is a command, and it’s for everyone’s own good. It’s a deception to think of sin being okay whether it’s a little bit here or there. It’s a deception to think we can just go on sinning because Jesus paid it all and we’re covered under “grace.”

When we don’t repent, we worship…ourselves. As we proclaim Christ and live in such a way that we desire including continuing to sin, not only are we lying to others about what the Bible says, but we are lying to ourselves that God knows better. We are leading people down a dangerous path and continuing to be stumbling blocks. We are in essence slapping God in the face, saying…thanks for forgiveness…but I’ll take it from here. God will not tolerate this.

When we repent, we worship…God. As we proclaim what Christ has done for us on the cross, we are believing His Word and that sin is not worth it. We grow in our walk with the Lord and the continued removal of sin from our lives. In these moments, we are truly living as new creations and the old versions of ourselves pass away. We are trusting God that what He says is true and that He knows better. Let’s continue to strive towards repentance of sin in our lives and to love others by preaching repentance.

Here are other Frequently Asked Questions and how the Bible answers them.

Questions: Is there something God is calling you to repent from? What do you need to turn away from? Do you believe it’s important to call people to repentance including yourself? Please comment below and join the conversation.

Saved by Grace through Faith. In love with Jesus, His Glory, and obviously my beautiful wife Joelle, daughter Peyton, and son Matthew! Seeking Him in everything to glorify Him and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Online & Communications Minister at 121 Community Church.

Please note: We reserve the rights to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • www.kathleensfaithwalk.com

    Thank you for writing on repentance. Excellent.

    • No problem! Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Gracethrufaith

    repentance is changing your mind about the need for a saviour. not to stop sinning. Jesus made it very clear that even thinking about sinning is the same as sinning. and everyone that says he is without sin is a liar, the truth is not in him. of course not sinning out of gratitude for what Jesus did on the cross is the right thing to do. but it is not called repentance it is gratitude.
    even Paul said he could not stop sinning the more he tried the harder it got. and it was not him sinning but sin that dwelt in him.
    Remember God already sees us as we have never sinned because of what Jesus did for us at the cross.

    In Christ.

    • Thanks so much for your comment..that’s exactly what is meant in the post when it talks about when we repent, we worship God. Thanks again so much for reading!

  • If repentance was not that important, the death of Jesus would have been unneeded. God could have just allowed us to continue to live as we once used to live prior to being saved. Because sin is something you don’t have to be taught regarding how to practice it, so it all comes naturally. What people should realize is that the death of Christ has given us a clear reason regarding why we have to repent.

    Christ died for us in order to set us free from the very sins that we have been held captive by; in other words, the very sins that in order for God not to give us what we truly deserved had to go the extreme by sending Christ to absorb and pay the full price for us. It would be foolish to continue indulging into the very thing that God already hates and wants us to stop practicing them.

    Christ’s death is intended to set us free from sin, so that we can live for Him alone. Repentance is one of the very things that will plainly demonstrate the Lord that we truly appreciate what He’s done for us; therefore, we will not take it for granted. Genuine repentance allows us to shut the door completely on our old ways our life along with the enemy.

  • Tajee P.

    Hello, I am 24 and my boyfriend is 28. Don’t know if age matters but we live together and I want to get back on track with following the Lord and I want him to do the same because I love him and that’s the kind of husband I want for myself and children. Well, I wanted to move out so we could do this the right way. I’m afraid to thoroughly speak with him about it and how it can be beneficial for us spiritually if we separate. I definitely want to follow Jesus but I’m not sure if he does. I’ve asked him but it seems he gives me an answer I want to hear. Recently, I had a conversation with him about me moving out so it can “help/save our relationship” because neither of us have solid careers or solid education and the stress of housing/car expenses and “self-incompletion” would destroy our relationship. I tempted to mask the real reason of wanting to move out and he was against it. I want a leader for myself and my daughter and future children. He is not that right now and I’m getting sad, overwhelmed, and frustrated with it. I know we need to separate and follow Jesus but I’m afraid to hurt him. We want to get married and his mom (who lives with us) thinks we should go to the courthouse to do it but we want to wait for a traditional wedding with family and friends. What should I do? Thanks.

    • Hey Tajee, thanks so much for sharing.

      Have you read this post – http://www.beforethecross.com/biblical-teachings/whats-wrong-with-living-together-before-marriage/

      I’m hoping that will help you.

      Are you guys involved in a Church? I would consider talking with your Pastor with your boyfriend about this and be as honest as possible. If you can’t be honest with him now, then you’re setting up a bad foundation for your marriage.

      Pray to God, read the Bible, consider how to follow Christ in your decision making and get help with the Church, and go from there. I promise if you start there, that’ll be the best decision making you can do! Hope that helps!

      • Tajee P.

        Thank you for responding. I did read that post about living together unmarried the previous post was meant for it. We do not have a home church, we’re still “trying out” churches. But I did speak with him about this issue and he said he is not ready to give up somethings for the Lord, like drinking, smoking, and other personal things. I did explain to him the kind of marriage and life I want, one with the Lord involved. But he’s not ready to totally surrender.

        I’m trying to work to make something and be able to move out but it’s slow and kind of rough right now. I feel trapped almost. I feel like I made a big mistake and I want to get out of it. At this point in my life, I’m terrified of the things to come and I want to be ready when He comes back. I feel like I’m slipping. Also, I know if we had Jesus, things would be clearer and understood, like marriage, responsibility, leadership, partnering, etc.

        All in all, he’s not ready to surrender and I am. A part of me feels as long as I live with him and try to give my life to the Lord, I’ll be in constant sin. If I truly surrender, will God give me a way out?

        • Hey Tajee, thank you again for sharing…I know this is a very tough situation you’re in at the moment. You can find great encouragement that salvation is available at any time through Jesus Christ by surrendering to Him. I wouldn’t necessarily say that “you’ll have a way out” just by following Jesus, but more of a trust that He will guide you and lead you in the right direction…if you are following Him.

          Often at times, following Christ doesn’t just “make everything better,” and brings a lot of changes we need to make in our lives. After all, we are all sinful, and we don’t realize the sins we need to turn from typically…until after…we start following Jesus.

          You have to start with your relationship with God first, and then things after that. Pursue Jesus above anything else, become a part of a Church that teaches the same thing, then look at your relationship in light of Him.

          For example, if you’re a follower of Jesus, and your boyfriend has no interest in following Jesus, then I would not continue in that relationship.

          This is really something that is best suited to walk through with a Pastor of your local Church to get the right counseling you would need (by the way, we all need counseling…not just “really messed up people”).

          You can experience joy and peace at it’s fullest by following Jesus and He is always better than anything else or anyone else you can imagine. I’d really encourage you to pray to Him, believe in Jesus, and make a decision to follow Him for the rest of your life.