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True Repentance

Written by: John Sernaque

Dear Reader,


We have all made mistakes, made bad choices we wish we could go back in time and do over again. Done the wrong things, said the wrong things. Not considered the consequences. What if there was a way where we were able to right our past wrongs? Unfortunately, we are not able to undo our past. However, through our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, forgiveness is available to us and the opportunity to repent. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelation 3:19. What does it mean to repent? Repent is to turn away, to go in the other direction. To feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin. To be very sorry for something bad you have done in the past and wish that you had not done it. To be sorry you did or did not do something. To return to God, turn away from sin. A sincere turning away, in both the mind and heart, from self to God. It involves a change of mind that leads to action -- the turning away from a sinful course to God.


If you realized you were driving in the wrong direction on a one- way street, to avoid disaster, you would immediately turn around so that you would be headed in the right direction. This makes perfect sense, yet some will not give up their sins, their lust for the world, and continue heading in the wrong direction, the road to perdition.


Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:4


The followers of Christ are to separate themselves from sinners, choosing their society only when there is opportunity to do them good. We cannot be too decided in shunning the company of those who exert an influence to draw us away from God. While we pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” we are to shun temptation, so far as possible. {PP 458.2}


Separate yourself from sinners, shun the temptation.


Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded. James 4:8


Draw Nigh By Prayer—“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” Draw nigh to Him by prayer, by contemplation, by reading His Word. When He draws nigh to you, He lifts up for you a standard against the enemy. Let us take courage; for the enemy cannot pass this standard (Manuscript 92, 1901). {7BC 937.9}. But let us read the remainder of the lesson given for our instruction, that we may more fully comprehend what it means to draw nigh to God. “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” The work that is essential to be done by the sinner is here clearly defined. It is a work not agreeable to the inclination of the human heart; but unless it is done the soul is not in a condition to appreciate the purity and perfection of the character of Christ, and in no condition either to understand the offensiveness of sin. The exhortation is given, “Purify your hearts, ye double minded.” While professing to be Christians, many have the mold of the world upon them, and their affections are not set upon God. They are double minded, making an attempt to serve God and mammon at the same time; but the world’s Redeemer has declared, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” ( Matthew 6:24). By trying to serve two masters, they are unstable in all their ways, and cannot be depended upon. To all appearances they are serving God, while at the same time in heart they are yielding to the temptation of Satan and cherishing sin. They may speak words that are smoother than oil, yet their hearts are full of deception and deceit in all their practices. Professing to be righteous, yet they have a heart that is desperately wicked. {7BC 938.2}


Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:10


Humility Before Pardon—God grants no pardon to him whose penitence produces no humility (Manuscript 11, 1888).


The Sorrow of True Repentance—“Be afflicted, and mourn and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy into heaviness.” It is right to be cheerful, and even joyful. It is right to cultivate cheerfulness of spirit through sanctification of the truth; but it is not right to indulge in foolish jesting and joking, in lightness and trifling, in words of criticism and condemnation of others.


Those who observe such persons who make a profession of religion, know that they are deceived. They know that the hands of such professors need to be cleansed, their hearts need to be purified. They need to experience genuine repentance for sin. What have they to mourn over? They should mourn over their inclination to sin, over the danger they are in from inward corruption and from outward temptation. They should be afraid because they have so feeble a sense of the sinfulness of sin, and so little idea of what constitutes sin (Letter 13, 1893).


To do or not to do? God will wink at your ignorance. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30. But once you know what it is to do what is right in the sight of God, you are required to be obedient. To be sorry you did or did not do something. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin. James 4:17.


Our salvation depends on repentance. There is no repentance in the grave. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. Ecclesiastes 9:10.


The book of Acts especially focuses on repentance in regard to salvation (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20).


Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38


Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; Acts 3:19


When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. Acts 11:18


And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30


Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:21


But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and [then] to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. Acts 26:20


Agrippa was almost persuaded to be a Christian. To be almost saved is to be wholly lost.

Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. Acts 26:28

There are some who seem to be always seeking for the heavenly pearl. But they do not make an entire surrender of their wrong habits. They do not die to self that Christ may live in them. Therefore they do not find the precious pearl. They have not overcome unholy ambition and their love for worldly attractions. They do not take up the cross and follow Christ in the path of self-denial and sacrifice. Almost Christians, yet not fully Christians, they seem near the kingdom of heaven, but they cannot enter there. Almost but not wholly saved, means to be not almost but wholly lost. {COL 118.1}


In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3: 1,2


This is our call today as much as it was then. It is urgent for us to repent now, as sin is what separates us from God. For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23. So, we have a choice: sin and death, or God and eternal life. We must confess our sins now, repent from those sins, and not return to our own vomit like a dog. If we come to God while holding on to known sins, our prayers will not be heard, our words will fall to the ground, and no answer will come. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]: Psalms 66:18. We want to hear from God. So, it is time now to Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Amen.


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