the quagmire in repentance

Has that title piqued your curiosity?

Let me state from the beginning here that I am not questioning the very biblical concept and foundation of our Christian faith called repentance.  What I am questioning is the fact that so often what we teach is more focused on what we are turning from rather than Who we are turning to and therein lies the quagmire …

Perhaps you have encountered this response when you have invited someone to church and to Christ …

“Well, I need to clean up a few things in my life first.  Give me a little time and I’ll come to church.”


Oftentimes what a person has heard is ‘Repent from your sin … period.’  Rather than making a 180 degree turn, the message we have heard is that you must first complete the 90 degree turn from our sin … and we find ourselves stuck and sinking in the swamp of sin and despair … the harder we try to escape, the deeper we sink … in our own strength … apart from God … we can never escape and turn completely from sin.

Do a word-search on the word repent in your online or computer Bible of choice … now note the context in which repent and repentance are so often taught … rarely is the focus on what we are repenting from.  Most of the time repentance is taught with an assumed understanding … we are turning from sin and self and turning to God and what He has done and is doing on our behalf … consider …

God convicts and leads us to repentance.

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant TO LEAD YOU to repentance?

I have not come TO CALL the righteous but sinners to repentance.

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

Repent from selfishness and sin to God.

and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and TURN TO God

Repent from unforgiveness of sins to the forgiveness of sins.

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

Repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Repent from dead works to a faith IN God.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of FAITH TOWARD GOD,

… and teaching you in public and from house to house,  testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance TOWARD GOD and of FAITH IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Repent from unbelief in God to a belief in the gospel.

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL.

Repent from perishing to life.

Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance THAT LEADS TO LIFE.

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.

I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Repent from the wisdom of the world to the knowledge of truth.

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

God is the instigator and finisher of repentance … we can’t embrace sin and embrace Jesus at the same time … nor can we eradicate sin (aka fix ourselves) apart from God.  If we find ourselves stuck in the quagmire of repentance, we must keep on turning until we find ourselves fully facing Jesus.

Yes, our embrace of sin is our departure point for repentance but our ultimate destination is the person of Christ Jesus … complete the 180 degree repentance journey!



About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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4 Responses to the quagmire in repentance

  1. jimdavenport says:

    My prayer is that I will continuously live in a state of repentance fully knowing that without the saving grace of Jesus I am nothing. Praise God that He loved me enough to die in my place and pay the price for ALL my sins. God bless you Bernie. God has much for you to do my friend. Keep at it!


  2. What a great message Bernie. And it seems so obvious from what you’ve written, that it is wholly outside of the human realm to repent; this is why the unsaved person finds it so difficult to accomplish. It must then be a work of the Spirit of God in the regenerated heart.

    • bwebbjr says:

      Absolutely Richard … apart from Christ we can do nothing. Our attempts to fix ourselves tend to serve the god of self-righteousness rather than being the work of the Spirit of God that truly turns us from self to Jesus. Yes, it must be a work of the Spirit of God in the regenerated heart!!!

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