Someone emailed me today asking about whether or not she needs to repent now that she is under grace. This got me thinking, which is a good thing! These kinds of questions only serve to help me on my own journey of grace as I hash out my answers.
Romans 2:4 says that the goodness of God leads us to repentance. I have certainly found this to be true.
Under grace, I now find that I am repenting constantly. It’s just part of my lifestyle, but still very different from how I used to repent, before I understood grace.
For instance, if I read the Bible and see something that doesn’t match my life I will think, “Yes Lord, I change my mind about the way I am currently thinking and I choose to think differently now – according to Your Word. (that’s repentance)
If I speak to my girls in a less than desirable manner, since I no longer accept the condemnation the devil tries to throw my way, what do I do? Well, I apologize to my girls and ask for their forgiveness and go right into thanking God for and receiving His complete forgiveness that has already been provided for me because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
I don’t get sin-conscious about the fact that I just sinned. Instead, I turn to Jesus and find myself thinking about how good He is to me that He remembers my sins no more according to the main clause of the new covenant. (Hebrews 8:12)
Then, what I find to be true time after time after time is that as I look away from my less-than-perfect self and look to my perfect Savior, I totally begin to change my mind (repent) and think, “Wow, I want to speak to my girls in a respectful and honoring tone.”
And as I see Jesus in all His beauty and perfection, His grace (His unmerited favor – all that goodness that we can’t earn that God gives us anyway – because of Jesus); that grace then produces in me the power I need to follow through.
I don’t go away thinking, “Oh my gosh I hope I can keep from talking to my girls like this again.” I actually move forward with a confidence, KNOWING that I WILL be strengthened in my area of weakness, not because I am great or because I will have enough discipline and self-control to act right next time, but because of the grace of God that is at work within me!
I already know I am helpless in and of myself, but I am no longer depending on myself. Jesus is the one who supplies everything I need, including discipline and self-control. It’s Christ in me! That’s where my hope lies. Man, I get so excited in my spirit when I talk about this kind of stuff!
But the huge change for Steve and I is that we formerly thought we had to repent in order to obtain forgiveness. We did not understand that as Believer’s in Jesus we were (and are) already completely forgiven for all of our sins – past, present and future sins – because of Jesus!
You see, what that faulty believing did to Steve and I for years is it caused us to constantly feel like we were in God’s good graces and then out of God’s good graces. In…and then out again based on our behavior and based on how quickly we repented. Never secure… always wondering.
I can’t tell you how good it felt to finally find that we were in and we were in to stay!
Obviously we didn’t understand what grace really was if we were basing it on our own works.
Grace is God’s unmerited favor toward us, and when received by faith, it produces His power in and through us.
Once Steve and I really got this revelation that we were totally forgiven, it didn’t make us stop repenting, but it did make us stop being sin-conscious. (see Hebrews 10:1-22) Our repentance started looking different than before. It was no longer accompanied by fear, guilt or the thought that, “If I do this just right and make sure I repent often enough, then I will earn forgiveness.”
Now it’s like this for us. “You’ve got to be kidding God. You mean to tell me that I am completely forgiven forever!’ It just does something to you and I guarantee you that any person who is truly living under God’s grace will be ‘changing their mind’ (repenting) on a regular basis.
It just becomes part of your lifestyle because you fall so deeply in love with Jesus from understanding and dwelling on everything He’s done for you! You are constantly seeing God’s goodness and as a result constantly making those adjustments, changing your mind and choosing to go in a different direction!
So yes, Steve and I believe in repentance, not as a means to get forgiveness, but as a response to the goodness of God…as a response to having already received His forgiveness.
In this blog post I also wanted to provide you with 3 great resources to reinforce what I have said here.
- The first one is a link to an article by Andrew Wommack about how important it is to our Christian walk that we accept God’s gift of forgiveness.
- The second one is a link to a question and answer that I found on Pastor Joseph Prince’s website. It will answer your question if you have ever wondered if being under grace will give people a licence to sin.
- The third resource is a link to one of Joseph Prince’s You Tube videos about how grace leads us to true repentance.
Man, am I a living witness to that being true – God’s grace leading me to true repentance.
It seemed like I repented like crazy before I understood God’s grace, but nothing much ever changed. I now understand that I wasn’t really living a life of repentance as much as I was living buried under guilt and condemnation every time I sinned.
In addition, I was using my so called ‘repentance’ as a work or a self-effort to try to earn my own forgiveness; therefore, I was disregarding and dishonoring what Jesus did for me on the cross when He shed His blood for my sin. I was so fearful of God that I didn’t see His goodness.
But now, as I have explained above, everything is different and I’m never gonna get over what Jesus did for me. I guarantee it!
Accept The Gift Of Forgiveness
by Andrew Wommack
Doesn’t knowing that God has forgiven all our sins, and given us His grace, become a licence for people to live a sinful lifestyle?
by Joseph Prince Ministries
Joseph Prince Ministries
Joseph Prince You Tube Video – Grace Leads To True Repentance (Approx. 7 min. long)
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!
Good article Sandra. I agree with the facts that repent means to change our thinking. In my own walk with the Lord, I repent by also taking responsibility for what I have done. I accept the responsibility for my action in that I don’t blame others for what I did, I own up to my mistakes and actions. Then I accept his forgiveness and realize I don’t have to act that way.
Yes, and I just love how receiving God’s grace/focusing on Jesus, the person of Grace changes our heart in such a profound way that it makes taking responsibility for our wrong behaviors quick and easy. In my own life I no longer feel like I need to make excuses when I mess up because I now know, even when I sin, a sinner is not who I am (that’s not my identity)…I am the righteousness of God in Christ!