Repentance

August 29, 2018

2 Peter 3:9… The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

            This is not saying, as some have conjectured, that everyone will be saved. It did not happen at the flood and it won’t happen at final judgment. Peter introduces a word that is mostly misunderstood and disobeyed… “repentance”

I had dinner last night with a new resident here in Las Palmas Grand. He taught middle school and high school students in New York, before he came to Arizona. The class he taught was a Bible class. He said that in his years of teaching, there was one question that he asked that was never answered correctly: “What does it mean to repent?” The consistent answer was, to “feel sorry.”

            Repentance is an action, not a feeling. Where as we were walking in a particular direction, we no longer believe that is the right direction so we change direction to follow our beliefs. Repentance need not be explained with words like: “I think” or “I hope.” In fact, one’s repentance should be evident to all.

1 Peter 4:3-4… For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery.

            Your friends and family should know when you repent. It will likely come as a surprise to them, but they cannot deny it.

            In verse 9, at the top of this page, notice that the anecdote to perishing is repentance. It is not just grace. I must explain that. We are saved by grace, not by our deeds, but the evidence of grace working in us is repentance. Repentance is a gift from God… but, like faith, it is a gift that we activate. James said, “Faith without works is dead.” In the same manner, grace without repentance is “easy believism.”  My computer is telling me that isn’t a word, but you know what it means, right? “Easy believism” is death because we are not changed, brought into new life, by it. We are “born again” by repentance.