How Do You Repent from Sin?
Who would you rather be like: A preacher who showed up to God’s house bragging about his own goodness? Or the humble criminal who knew he was unworthy and desperately needed God’s forgiveness?
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” I John 1:8-9
Imagine that a well-known preacher has just spoken at your church service. The preacher is wearing nice clothes, and people are crowding around him so they can shake his hand.
Then just a few feet away, you spot a criminal who has recently been released from prison. He is poorly dressed, smells worse than he looks, and no one wants to go near him or talk to him.
As the preacher talks to his admirers, you are surprised to hear him say things like: “I am a really good person, because I preach really good messages and never break any of God’s rules.” “People should follow my example. I do not break the law, like that bad criminal over there.”
As you draw closer, you notice the criminal is crying. He buries his face in his hands and falls to his knees. He cries out to God and says, “Lord, please forgive me for all I have done! I am a terrible sinner, and I need You to change my life.”
Jesus told a story like this in Luke 18. He said, “this sinner, not the [preacher], returned home justified before God” (Luke 18:14).
Who would you rather be like: The preacher who showed up to God’s house bragging about his own goodness? Or the humble criminal who knew he was unworthy and desperately needed God’s forgiveness? Remember, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart…” (Psalm 51:17) God loves a humble heart.
If you want to repent, the first thing you have to do is recognize your sin. After you recognize your sin, humbly confess your sin to God and agree with Him about how serious it is. The last step to repentance is to thank God for His forgiveness, and ask Him for the Holy Spirit’s power to turn away from that sin.
Pray this week:
That you will be humble in seeking God’s forgiveness.
Have you told Jesus that you are sorry for your sins, naming them in your prayer? Ask someone to help pray with you.