A Pastor’s Perspective, Have You Truly Repented ?

Southaven,Ms

By: Mike Upchurch

Have You Truly Repented ?

There is a subject I rarely write about in these weekly columns, but it has been on my radar screen of late. The subject? Sin.
I tend to focus my ministry on our drawing closer to Jesus. I desire that we all seek His presence. I like to talk about our being worshippers. I strive to make certain we know just how awesome and majestic our Savior is. I like to dwell on His power, His attributes, His glory; He is, after all, the King of all Kings! But I am compelled to write today, at least just this once, on the dangers sin presents, even to a believer.

As we’ve noted many times before, sin must be dealt with. We are called to be holy. There MUST be repentance. Of late, I’m becoming more and more convinced that unrepentant, unconfessed sin can lead to the wrath of the Lord being poured out even on His children! Not only eternally, but in this life as well, in the form of the enemy having free reign. When you’re not walking underneath an umbrella in the rain, you’re going to get wet, and when you’re not walking underneath the umbrella of the Lord’s forgiveness, you’re walking in a wilderness without His protection and His favor. Before you fire off your rebuke, telling me that Jesus forgave ALL sin at the cross, let me reiterate, we are addressing unrepentant, unconfessed sin. Sin that you either refuse to acknowledge, or simply refuse to give up. Yes, His death on the cross paved the way for all our sins to be forgiven, but only those which we have confessed and turned away from are forgiven.

The word ‘repent’ in the original Greek is pronounced met-an-o-eh-o and means “to think differently.” Are you thinking differently? To think differently means simply to now reject behavior you once enjoyed. When you repent, you turn away from it. Jesus loves a repentant heart as does all of heaven. Note his comment…..

“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:10

But while a repentant heart brings joy, an unrepentant attitude brings about grief and ultimately death. Observe Paul’s words to the Church at Corinth….

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:9-11

Paul makes the statement “and such were some of you” in verse 11. What happened to cause their conversion? They repented; meaning they turned away from the sins they were in. They confessed their sins and were forgiven. They thought differently of their sins and realized their errors. But I cannot highlight enough the fact that they turned away from those sins. If you ask the Lord to forgive you of a particular sin, yet continue in that sin, you have NOT repented and turned away. If a thief continues to steal after turning to Christ, then he has not been forgiven until he repents and turns away, no longer stealing. If you’re heading North on a highway, you will never be heading South until you make an abrupt turn and head in the opposite direction. It’s no different in the Kingdom of God. There must be a turning around. Paul said in verse 9 that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If you don’t confess your sins, or don’t acknowledge you have sin in your life, you are in danger of being barred from eternal
life with Him! Listen to Jesus’ stern warning….

“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:3‬ ‭

It’s hard to misinterpret that one…..if you don’t repent, or think differently about your sins, you will perish.
That terrifies me! Yes I’m trusting Christ to save me, and yes, as best as I can I have repented of all my sins, but even I have had to go back through my past. I have examined every evil deed I’d committed that I could recall, confessed them to the Lord, told Him I was indeed sorry, and also told Him I would attempt to steer clear of those sins for the rest of my life! I think differently now of those sins! I don’t want to incur the wrath of God and be denied entry into Heaven! John said we must all admit we are sinners…..

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:8‬

Now let me insert a critically important truth here….if you’ve confessed your sins and turned away from them, they are under the blood and you ARE forgiven! You don’t need to then remind Him how dreadful a person you are. There’s no need to remind Him daily of how wretched you were. If you’ve indeed turned away from your sins, they are in the PAST! They’re gone, forgotten, forgiven! Rest easy! Remember John’s promise…..

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John‬ ‭1:9

The money word in that verse is ‘confess’. What that verse says to me is that if there is no confession, then there is no forgiveness.
But again, there must be a turning away. Examine Peter’s charge….

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ” YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.””
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:14-16‬

They are FORMER lusts; repent and walk away from them. And James said this…..

Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
‭‭James‬ ‭4:17‬ ‭

Yikes, more sin to deal with! Repent and walk away, RUN away if you have to, but confess and repent!

It’s not easy being a Christian. It will cost you something to serve Christ. If your goal is to inherit eternity, there will be a price you’ve paid. You will have turned away from your former life. There will have been sacrifice. You will, as Paul said in Galatians 2:20, have crucified the flesh. While it’s true we all fail, it’s those who strive to do better, who really try to turn around, that will receive the promise of eternal life. Paul charged the Church at Philippi to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

John warned us that if there hasn’t been behavioral change, then there really hasn’t been spiritual change, and in my opinion there hasn’t been forgiveness…..

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭2:3-5‬

And he further implied in the same letter that the person who continues in sin doesn’t have the salvation of the Lord. I like the Amplified‘s version here….

No one who is born of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, because God’s seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him [who is born again–who is reborn from above–spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose]; and he [who is born again] cannot habitually [live a life characterized by] sin, because he is born of God and longs to please Him. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are clearly identified: anyone who does not practice righteousness [who does not seek God’s will in thought, action, and purpose] is not of God, nor is the one who does not [unselfishly] love his [believing] brother.”
‭‭1 JOHN‬ ‭3:9-10‬ ‭AMP

Do you hate anyone? Read this chilling statement of John’s…..

“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:15

Folks, we must confess, and we must repent, and we must turn away from who we were, or we may hear these horrific words on Judgement Day….

“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:23‬

Did I mention we need to repent? Please, confess and repent and think differently, and then move forward to eternal life with Him!

And that’s the way I see it!

Pastor Mike