By R.W. McAlister
Repentance is a change of mind or will that is
produced by godly sorrow and results in change of one’s conduct.
It involves turning from a sinful way of life and
turning to God in the way He has prescribed,
with our motivation being to live a righteous life
pleasing to God. This determination comes from
genuine sorrow because the sinner knows he has
This desire involves making restitution as far as
possible. The most needed characteristic of
man is a penitent heart
as demonstrated by David (Psalm 51) and the
Prodigal Son (Luke 15). Without a penitent
heart, one will not please God or go to heaven.
A penitent heart examines self. “Examine
yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove
your own selves...” (II
Cor. 13:5). The Prodigal Son examined himself in
the hog pen. How long has it been since
you’ve searched your heart and asked: Am I right
with God? Is there sin in my life that I need
to repent of?
A penitent confesses wrongs. The Prodigal Son
confessed to his father, “I have sinned against heaven, and
before thee” (Luke 15:21). The penitent heart
compels one to daily confess sin to the Father in
heaven and desire forgiveness. One who does not
confess his sin lacks a penitent heart.
A penitent heart is humble. If a person commits
sin, he or she ought to humbly say as did the prodigal son,
“make me as one of thy hired servants” (Luke
15:19). Too often, people are proud of the sin in
their life. They joke and laugh about it, but a
penitent heart demonstrates an attitude of humility.
A penitent heart forsakes. It’s a heart that
forsakes sin. One may fall in sin but a penitent heart will not
allow him to stay in sin. If one is reluctant to
quit some sin, he doesn’t have a penitent heart.
A penitent heart is broken because of sin. It’s a
heart that will not allow one who has committed sin to rest
until that sin is forgiven. Before Saul of Tarsus
was baptized, “...he was three days without
sight, and neither did eat nor drink” (Acts 9:9).
One who is indifferent toward sin in his life
does not have a penitent heart.
A penitent heart rights wrongs. It compels one to
correct wrongdoing as soon as possible and to whatever
extent possible. Too many don’t want to do what is
necessary to correct their
sin. They don’t have a penitent heart.
God not only demands, but lovingly desires that
all come to Him in repentance. “The Lord is not slack
concerning his promise, as some men count
slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing
that any should perish, but that all should come
to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). Our God is a God
of love who wants to see every sinner saved. “Who
will have all men to be saved, and to come
unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:4).
If you have sin in your life, will you choose to
repent of it and do everything in your power to commit that sin
no more? Give it some serious thought, as your
eternal destination is at stake.
- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of
Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the
congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/