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Monday, April 19, 2021

Repentance Unto Life

By Joe Slater

    Some of the Jews in the Jerusalem church rebuked Peter for evangelizing the Gentile Cornelius and his household. But after Peter explained, “they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance unto life.’”
    How does God grant repentance to people? After all, repentance is a command! “God now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:31). How can something be both given and commanded?
    Many sincere religious people believe that a lost sinner can do nothing relative to the salvation process; he must passively wait for the Holy Spirit to miraculously put such things as faith and repentance into his heart. But such is not taught in the Bible! If God miraculously put faith and repentance into my heart, but not into yours, would that not be showing partiality? Yet Acts 10:34 states unequivocally that God shows no partiality!
    God grants repentance like He grants us our daily bread – by giving us opportunities and the necessary things to produce it. When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” do we expect God to send down a plate of food miraculously from Heaven? Of course not! He provides the soil, rain, sunshine, etc., necessary for food production. In His providence he grants us health, strength, and opportunities to earn or produce food.
    In similar indirect ways God gives us repentance. His word shows us the need to repent and what will happen if we don’t. And He gives us opportunities to repent before it is too late. That was the main thing with Cornelius. Prior to Acts 10, Gentiles had been excluded from opportunities to hear and obey the gospel. But now God granted them repentance leading to eternal life! 
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com


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