“Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.”

Acts 3:17-20

 

In the above, Peter was telling the Israelites about Jesus, through whose power he and John had healed a lame man. He told the Israelites about how they’d had a part in crucifying Jesus and how he had suffered for them. “Repent and turn to God,” he told them, “so that your sins will be wiped out.”

The word “repentance” is not always understood. To repent is to feel regret or remorse. It is to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to amending one’s life.

I recently heard someone tell a story about unexpectedly getting lost. He found his way back by changing direction. “This,” he said, “is a metaphor for repentance.”

But – I thought to myself – getting lost is an innocent act, far from hurting someone or sinning against God. In such a case we must repent and show remorse for the suffering we’ve caused. According to the Bible, it’s only after repenting “that our sins may be wiped out.” I wonder how many people have missed hearing that message in church? How lost such people must be!

Billy Graham said, “The Bible commands [repentance], our wickedness demands it, justice requires it, Christ preached it and God expects it. The divine, unalterable edict is still valid: “God commands all men everywhere to repent.”

Quoting Billy Graham again: “Repentance is not a word of weakness but a word of power and action. It is not a self-effacing emotion, but a word of heroic resolve. It is an act that breaks the chains of captive sinners and sets heaven to singing.”

From Jesus: I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7 (RSV)

Be careful about who you rely on for spiritual guidance. Some teachers will omit parts of Scripture such as this if they don’t serve their own purposes. In doing so, they’re serving themselves, not God. Such “false teachers” exist more often than we realize. Their apparent kindness and wisdom are deceiving and so, they are mistakenly trusted by those they lead.

You are probably saying, “But who can I believe?” Of course, you can certainly believe God’s Word if you make a point of studying it carefully. Go online and dig around by googling various topics that might interest you. You’ll soon learn how to find reliable sources. What can you find that lines up with God’s truth? Don’t look at only one source. Try several. It will be an enjoyable pastime and you will grow in wisdom.

I’ve just completed a guide to help you research your Bible for yourself.  See the wonderful things you’ll discover at http://marjabergen.com/archives/researching-scripture-for-yourself

marja