Thank you for joining me today.
This is the beginning of a multi-part Bible Study, titled God's Answer to Man's Question, in which we study and break down specific subjects with issues and struggles that we may have all faced in life at some point or another, and where to look in the Word for answers.
Repentance is one of my favorite topics in the Word to discuss. For me, understanding true repentance and putting it into action through prayer and obedience against afflictions was a huge boulder I broke that was blocking me from seeing Jesus how I should have been my entire life. It helped me greatly in destroying the bad habits I had built up that were keeping me from Him, and keeping myself from an amazing life, abundant of good things with Him.
I was raised in a Catholic background, and by no means am I knocking any one who is a Catholic with what I say next, but for me in particular, the way I was taught repentance in that background was incorrect. I never learned a thing about true repentance. I would sin all week, even sin on purpose, because in my mind I knew that I could just go to confession, tell the priest my sins without even having to see his face, say a few prayers after (which I usually sped and mumbled through), and then boom - clean slate to starting sinning all over again on Monday! That’s how it was in my mind, and I’m sure many others fell in to that trap as well. Is this how it is taught in every Catholic church? I do not know nor could I possibly know without researching and contacting every single church in the Catholic embodiment. This was just my experience at the particular church I went to.
I would love to examine one of my favorite Scriptures on the matter of repentance. It is from the Book of Acts, and, as always, I strongly suggest you read the entire Gospel, as Acts is chock full of deeper information on this subject.
Acts 17:25-30 (KJV)
25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Especially that last sentence, 30, where it states God winked at past sins and times of ignorance, but now that they KNEW God, it was time to repent for these sins. In other words, it was time to cut it out and straighten up with the Lord.
Paul says that God overlooked their sin in the past, because it was done in ignorance. They didn’t know God and His Law. They weren’t taught it, so how could they have obeyed it? God since then had revealed Himself to mankind, and now man must repent of all those sins he has committed and come to the one true God. God will no longer “look the other way” at sin. All of mankind know the rules now as it is written in the Word, and we must abide by them.
We can apply this to our life in many ways. For one, in the literal sense, this was referenced to mankind back then in the old world, as we can read in the Book of Acts, when they literally didn’t know the Law yet. But how can we apply this to our life today? Well, many of us may be ignorant to the commands of the Lord, but once saved and possessing knowledge of the Lord and the Word of God, it is time to truly repent for our sins. We must pray to Jesus for forgiveness of sin and the strength to overcome the things that lead us to commit them.
It starts with a foundation, however. A good place to start would be to read the Bible, preferably the King James Version or the New King James Version, from start to finish. Knowing God starts with knowing His Word and accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
By no means am I perfect at it, and no one ever will be, as only God is perfect. But diligent study of the Bible will lead to better and better understanding of the Word. I am learning more and more every day. I thought with my website articles and blog posts that I studied the Word a lot, but now that I am 50% through my first book, I have learned even more and gotten even deeper into the Word and pressed even harder into God than before. And it gets more and more awesome every day, and I am still growing. It is a never ending journey with God, and honestly, it feels so good, you don’t want it to end, you just think, “Where next?”
Proper repentance, to me, is truly stopping sin and diligently trying to do so. We will all still sin every day, no matter what, without realizing it or by accident or through moments of frustration and excitement. We’re human. But big boulder sins, such as bad habits and things that we do that we KNOW we shouldn’t do and are harmful for us and harmful towards our relationship with Jesus - those we need to cut down immediately through proper repentance. That means stopping the sin at it’s source by praying for forgiveness and strength, and then seeing what the Word has to say about it and taking action in your life to correct it.
Ill give you an example, and its a big one today - perhaps you struggle with porn addiction? With a quick search online, as recent as 2007 to date, you can find various surveys done on the matter, but the numbers generally all come back in this range: up to 70% of Christians surveyed say that they currently watch porn on a daily to weekly basis (generally 50% Men, 20% Women)!
If you don’t realize this is a problem, then that is the first place I would start doing research on the matter, in the Word first and foremost and other sources, such as searching for topics along the lines of how it changes your brain on a chemical level, so that you can understand, not only spiritually, but biologically the changes that happen to you when you participate in this, and it is important to understand both.
Some will tell you that science and religion cannot coexist, but that is a naive line of thinking. Though the Bible doesn’t often speak in terms of mathematical equations or formulas, with diligent research we can correlate the two, and have to keep in mind that certain technologies were not present back then, but it doesn’t make something an incorrect assertion back then or today, we just have a deeper understanding on certain things now and how they function on a cellular level.
For example, the Bible teaches us that the devil is after the minds of men, and pornography is just one weapon he uses, or the lust of the flesh, as you have likely seen it written in the Word, but in today’s scientific world, there are studies that show the actual biological and chemical changes that occur in the brains of men and women who use pornography, short term and long term, giving even more credence to the fact that was already stated by the Word about the devil doing this very thing, long before advanced technology existed to know this on a cellular level. Here we have the Bible and science co-existing. Most who tell you that this is impossible often also reject much of the Word and Faith in God as a whole.
Now, if you suffer from it, and you want to stop doing it but just can’t seem to, pray to Jesus. Lay it all on the line, ask for forgiveness and strength, and then find your answers in the Word on how to approach this to take action in your life to fix this problem, which may even include outside medical help and resources, which is perfectly fine as well.
If we were to put this into a formula, it would look something like this:
1 - Pray to Jesus for forgiveness of the sins committed.
2 - Pray to Jesus for strength to overcome the sins committed and for answers and what to do about it.
3 - Locate Scriptures in the Word on the matter at hand.
4 - Make a step by step plan, after doing the first 3, and take action.
5 - Continue to pray to Jesus on the matter, no matter how long it takes to accomplish your goal or whatever set backs you may face. Where you are today might not be where you want to be, but if its better than yesterday, you’re on the right track!
Again, the subject of repentance is one of my absolute favorite to talk about, because it is a major cornerstone in Faith and our life with Jesus. It is sometimes hard to discuss without “ruffling a few feathers”, but it is necessary, and honestly I don’t know any other way to face issues in our life other than head on with Jesus at the forefront of our decisions. We can certainly have healthy conversations and relationships without passing judgement incorrectly or harshly on one another. Why dance around a problem and prolong it?
Stay safe my friends, and have a Blessed and Happy Sunday!