If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
I am trying to remember the last time I heard a sermon on repentance. It is sad that we do not preach much about it because there is no forgiveness of sin without it. To make the situation worse, I think people need to understand the meaning of the word repentance.
Some people think they repent when they feel guilty about some wrongdoing, but that is not repentance. That is either guilt or conviction. To repent is to acknowledge we have done wrong and turn away from our wicked ways. It means more than feeling wrong about disobeying God. It means we make up our minds to avoid repeating our offense.
That is what Ezra, the author of 2 Chronicles, talks about when he speaks about turning from our wicked ways. He is asking the People of God to repent from their wicked ways. The challenge with that request is that we cannot leave our wicked ways without God’s help. That is why before he asked us to repent, Ezra asked God’s people first to pray and seek God’s face.
My friends, true repentance is powerful. Repentance produces remorse that moves our hearts to ask God to help us stop our wrongdoings. It brings permanent change—the abuser who repents abuses no more. Addictions are no match for true repentance. It is what brings a sinner to the feet of Christ and makes salvation possible.
Guilt only separates us from God. Stop living in it. If there is sin in your life, and the Holy Spirit convinces you of it, stop fighting your conscience and repent. Ask God to forgive you and call on Him to help you turn away from that sin once and for all. God is more than capable of forgiving every sinner who repents. Make this week a week of progress and freedom. Repent!