Monday, May 19, 2014

A Penitent Heart Is

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 displeased God.
     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:

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