Repentance means to turn your life around, to stop doing the wrong things you have been doing and start doing the right things you should be doing. It also has the sense of turning back to God, from whom you have grown distant.
As we read throughout the Old Testament, a major aspect of the Jewish faith was repentance. We see it in the prophets, when thru them God pleaded with the people time and time again to turn from their wicked ways and return to their God. When they did turn to him in repentance, they had peace. Certainly an inner peace, but even an external peace in that God would protect them from their enemies.
Just as the Jews had to repent to get back into relationship with God, we Christians often have to do the same thing. Sinful acts creep into our lives, we slowly grow distant from God, we neglect our spiritual lives, and pretty soon we have no peace. That’s why we, even as believers, are encouraged to repent – it’s too easy to fall away. When we do turn back to God, we will have the inner peace that Paul described in Philippians 4:7:
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. NRSV
Jesus himself promised his followers his peace (John 14:27):
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” NRSV
With all of the unethical and immoral behavior we’ve been seeing among our politicians (see earlier post), sports figures, and entertainers, I think we need repentance in this country. We have to stop conforming to the world’s ways, and begin to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we become conformed to God’s ways. Think of how better our country would be!