Beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, every human being has walked contrary to God’s way of life. We have all contributed our share to the sins of this world (Rom. 5:12).
We have all performed “works of the flesh” fulfilling the inordinate desires and lusts of our minds and bodies -- because we have all walked according to the course of this world as set by “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2-3).
Since all of humanity has sinned, all have therefore earned the penalty of sin, which is eternal death cessation of life forever! As Paul put it: “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof we are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. For the wages of sin is (eternal) death” (Rom. 6:21, 23)?
All human beings who have not repented of their sins are, so to speak, on spiritual death row awaiting execution of a justly deserved ultimate capital punishment. This eternal penalty was earned by simply “doing what comes naturally” sinning!
But God, in His vast mercy, has provided a way by which we may avoid paying that extreme penalty: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
A loving God wishes that all would claim the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, for the remission of their personal sins. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Rom. 5:8-10).
There is only this one way to be covered by Christ’s sacrifice, only one way to enter into eternal life as a glorified member of the God Family. And it involves repentance!
Acts 2:38 summarizes the whole salvation process in just one verse. And one of the very first words of that famous passage is “Repent”! So repentance is the first vital step to salvation. Jesus declared: “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). But what is real repentance in God’s sight, as revealed in His inspired Word? What does it involve, what do we have to do?
A CHANGE OF DIRECTION
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,” said Peter (Acts 3:19). God tells us there is something we must do before He will apply the sacrifice of Christ to pay the penalty of our sins. We must demonstrate that we no longer wish to continue in the way of life which leads to eternal death. We do so by changing our way of living. That change of direction is called “repentance” in biblical terminology. But what, exactly, do we repent of? SIN!!!
Actions and deeds which are contrary to God’s law are simply defined as “sin.” Sin is the violation or transgression of any of God’s great spiritual laws. Notice the definition of sin in the Bible: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4).
Sin, however, is not always a wrong deed, it can go further than that. Sometimes we sin by not doing what is right or good. “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
To repent of sin, then, simply means to “change direction.” We turn from the way of self-indulgence and “get” to the way of “give.” We stop serving the inordinate lusts of our own flesh and begin to serve others. We turn from selfishness to selflessness.
THE “NATURAL” STATE OF MAN
Real repentance involves change on our part. But why change? And change what? To really answer these questions, we need to understand the natural state of every individual prior to repentance and conversion.
God inspired the prophet Jeremiah to describe the basic motivations of the human mind. How does our Creator characterize the natural mind, or “heart,” of man? (Jere. 17:9)? Is the natural, unconverted mind of every human being grossly subject to vanity and sin (Rom. 8:7-8, 20)?
What are the natural inclinations of the “carnal,” physically oriented, unconverted human mind (Gal. 5:19-21; Rom. 1:28-32; James 4:1-3)? Where do these attitudes of sin actually originate, who is the “father” of sin (John 8:38-44; I John 3:8; Eph. 2:2-3)?
COMMENT: Incredible as it may sound, the natural state of man what we commonly call “human nature” is imparted to mankind by that great fallen archangel known as Satan the Devil!
Satan is revealed as the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4), who has deceived all nations (Rev. 12:9)? He is further revealed as “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2).
Satan works in people by “broadcasting his basic attitude to the mind. He is actually “on the air,” so to speak, surcharging the air around the world. The spirit that is in every human (Job 32:8; I Cor. 2:11) which we discussed in Lesson five, is “in tune” with Satan’s “wavelength.”
Few people realize that “human nature” has a spiritual side and a physical side. On its spiritual side, it is vanity. Vanity loves to exalt the self. It is self-centered. It is selfish and greedy. It comes natural to resent and resist authority.
Even a child begins very early to resist the authority of his parents. As he grows and matures this tendency to be hostile toward authority increases.
On the physical side, there are “natural” physical pulls and drives that seek to be satisfied regardless of any resultant injury or harm that may come to others or the self. Obviously there are certain physical desires that are not wrong and which God created in us. But when lust and improper use enter the picture, these desires become sin!
Therefore, isn’t the expression of Satan’s nature criminal in God’s sight (I John 3:4)?
COMMENT: A well-known cartoon series is titled, “There Oughta’ Be a Law.” And indeed there is a law against the works of “human nature.” It is the Ten Commandments of God. The expression of mankind’s Satan-inspired nature is clearly illegal in God’s sight!
Let’s take another look at the way man’s acquired nature expresses itself.
The “natural” mind, under the influence of Satan’s wavelength, loves itself above all else. It is extremely selfish. Next to itself, it loves that which belongs to it or is in some way connected to it persons, concepts, material possessions. All these are a part of a larger “self” like a little empire.
But don’t some few people really love others? “Put themselves out” spending their time serving? Certainly, to a degree, some have learned it is better to give than to receive. Perhaps they have not followed the devil’s philosophy as far as others who are totally “out for number one.” Perhaps a few of God’s teachings in the Bible have “rubbed off” on them.
But most of the time even apparently altruistic deeds have an ulterior selfish motive, believe it or not!
Those whom God will ultimately change from mortal humans to the divine likeness of God, those who will be born as the very sons of God, are those who repent of this “natural” state of mind and its past sinful actions, and then strive to overcome it from that point on.
What, therefore, did Jesus say we are to become like if we expect to enter the Kingdom of God (Matt. 18:2-4)?
COMMENT: Most little children do not exhibit the same tendencies of “human nature” as do older children, teenagers and mature adults. We think of very little children as being “sweet” and “innocent,” lacking the selfish reasoning of their older counterparts.
But somewhere along the line the attitude of Satan begins to make inroads in our minds. We gradually begin to be hostile and defiant toward authority to varying degrees. We begin to be resentful of being told what to do. We begin to be subject to the whims that spring from the desires of our flesh. Our whole thought processes begin to be concerned more with “I,” “my,” and “me.” As a result of the influence of Satan’s “broadcasting,” we have all fostered and harbored these wrong attitudes.
And so, as Paul was inspired of God to write, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:9-18; also see Eccl. 7:20).
God wants every one of us to eventually become like Him. Therefore He wants us to turn from and strive to overcome the evil influence of the devil’s attitude on our thinking and doing while still flesh and blood. This is essentially what repentance is all about!
IT ALL BEGAN IN EDEN
When God created Adam and Eve, He made them physically perfect. They were created in the shape and image of God (Gen. 1:26-27).And everything about them was “good” (v. 31).
They were not composed of spirit but of flesh and blood and made of the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7; 3:19). And they had a natural self-concern. God gave this concern to humans for a good and wonderful purpose. It causes us to have a natural and proper interest for our own welfare, our lives, our physical bodies.
Remember, God nowhere says that it is wrong or sinful to have a right and proper love for self: “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh: but nourisheth and cherisheth it” (Eph. 5:29). However, we are told to love others as much as we love ourselves (Matt. 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:33; Eph. 5:28). It is only when we love ourselves beyond the necessary self-concern, and at the expense of others, that it becomes sin.
When Adam and Eve were created, their nature was “neutral” toward God. It was not antagonistic to God. Neither was there any built-in “programmed” tendency to do right and to obey Him. They were, as first created entirely humble and teachable, like little children (Matt. 18:3-4).
But when the devil appeared. Cunningly appealing to Eve’s natural self-concern, he first tempted her and then Adam (through his wife, Gen. 3:6, 17). Adam and Eve let the devil appeal to their desire to be “wise.” Therefore they took to themselves the knowledge of what is good and what is evil, deciding for themselves right from wrong. In so doing, they rebelled against God’s authority, disobeyed the law, the command He had given them, and sinned. By this act they chose and acquired the “nature” or attitude of sin from Satan.
This is how sin “entered into the world” by one man, Adam (Rom. 5:12).And the death penalty has passed on to all; not because of Adam’s sin, not by heredity but because “all have (likewise) sinned” (same verse).
The original words in the Hebrew and Greek from which “repent” and “repentance” are translated, mean to turn, to change direction. And true repentance is exactly that. It is a complete about-face from disobedience toward God to obedience, love and cooperation with Him.
True repentance is coming to a full realization that we have rebelled against our Creator, against His way and His righteous law. It means that we come to abhor ourselves for our self-willed, rebellious, sinful past. We must be truly broken up and ready now, with God’s help, to bury our old natures, quit sinning, quit rebelling and submit to God with all our hearts.
The time of repentance is the crisis of your life. It is the turning point in your entire destiny! When we are finally brought to real repentance, we mean business. We are ready, in every phase of our lives, to say: “Yes, Lord your will be done.” In real repentance, we have become completely sick and tired of our own selfish ways. We are truly sorry for our sins, and we are ready and willing to make a permanent change. We are now ready to “turn around and to go the other way” God’s way.
You and I were born incomplete, in great need of personal contact with God through His Spirit. You need to face that fact squarely and ask God’s guidance and help, seek to receive the Holy Spirit!
TRUE REPENTANCE IS OF THE HEART
Should true repentance be a deep, moving and heartfelt experience (Joel 2:12-13)?
Does a heartfelt repentant attitude open the way to a close and saving relationship with God (Ps. 34:18)?
Is spiritual repentance clearly toward God (Acts 20:21)?
COMMENT: Sin is against God, He is the Lawgiver whose perfect law we have broken. To repent means to be so humbled and broken up by the thought of having rebelled against the living, Holy God, so abhorrent of our deceitfulness, vanity, and selfishness that in real contrition we turn to God for mercy, forgiveness and the help we so desperately need in order to overcome.
What did Job say, when finally stripped of his self-righteous shell (Job 42:5-6)?
COMMENT: “Now mine eye seeth thee,” said Job. For the first time, after his ego had been deflated completely, Job got his man-centered mind off himself and really grasped that God is the center of the universe (chapters 36-41). “Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes”!
Some have thought repentance is merely a matter of being thankful that they are so “good” they have been able to see the truth and are now accepting it. That is not repentance. That is self-righteousness -sin- something more to be repented of.
Every one of us must ultimately come to see God as Job did. Try to see yourself through God’s eyes and put Him foremost in your mind. If you do, then you will begin to love God as Jesus instructs (Matt. 22:37).
Does God’s goodness and mercy lead one to repentance (Rom. 2:4)? And is He patient and loving in leading one to repentance same verse?
Is it God who grants us repentance (II Tim. 2:25)? Also see Acts 11:18.
Did Jesus plainly say no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him (John 6:44)?
COMMENT: In light of the above scripture, how does one know if the Father is “drawing,” or calling him? If you have understood what you have studied thus far, and you want to come to God, you are being called!
UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER TO GOD
Right now, before Christ comes to impose His laws and loving rule on mankind and forces this whole world to surrender to Him, He is calling upon individuals to surrender voluntarily to His authority for to “repent” also means to surrender ourselves to God’s will unconditionally.
Does surrendering to God also mean that we put Him ahead of and above all else (Matt. 10:36-38)? Does this extend to include our own lives also (Luke 14:26)?
COMMENT: “Hate” in Luke 14:26 means to love less by comparison as the parallel account in Matthew 10:36-38 shows.
Though it sounds paradoxical, did Jesus say that whoever would quit being his old sinful selfish self, and give up or “lose” his life to Him, would live (Matt. 16:24-25)?
COMMENT: Jesus is actually talking about giving one’s life in total obedience and service to God, even giving up all things, including our own lives, if He should ever require that of us, in return for eternal life.
But repentance surrendering to God is not a matter of “giving up” everything good. Repentance is positive. Not only do you escape the penalties of sin through repentance, it is also the way to innumerable positive benefits in this life!
God does wish for us to prosper and be in good health (III John 2). He wants us to give up only those things which are bad for us, which hurt us spiritually and physically. Repentance and conversion make possible our intelligent use of God’s material creation through the guidance of His laws and His Spirit.
Is surrendering to Christ something to be considered lightly? Or must we first “count the cost” realizing the depths of what surrendering to God really entails (Luke 14:28-30)?
WE MUST TURN TO GOD’S LAW
How may we become cleansed of sin, made acceptable to God? Is it through Christ’s sacrifice and His shed blood which covers, blots out, our sin and reconciles us to God (Rom. 5:8-10)? What must we do to have this blood applied to us (Acts 3:18-19)?
Are those whose sins have been forgiven pictured symbolically as having had their clothing made “white” by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ (Rev. 7:13-14)?
Is white, clean, clothing symbolic of the righteousness right doing God requires of those who would enter His Kingdom (Rev. 19:8-9)? What will happen to those whose clothing remains soiled, or full of sin, and have not “put on” the righteousness of God (Matt. 22:11-13)?
What is David’s Holy Spirit-inspired definition of “righteousness” isn’t it clearly the keeping of God’s commandments (Ps. 119:172)?
Isn’t it the law of God to which the “wicked” all who have sinned -- are to turn (Ezk. 18:21-22)?
Whom did Paul say are justified before God the hearers or the doers of God’s law (Rom. 2:13)? Did Paul make it plain that even though the unmerited pardon of our sins is by the grace of God through faith in Christ’s sacrifice, nevertheless a Christian is obligated to God to keep the law of God? Read Romans 3:31 and all of chapter 6.
Isn’t this clearly why Jesus said what He did to the young rich man (Matt. 19:16-17)? Did Jesus enumerate enough of the commandments to make it clear He was indeed talking about the Ten Commandments (vs. 18-19)?
COMMENT: Because we can’t save ourselves and can’t keep God’s law perfectly of ourselves, the prevalent teaching today is that Jesus did it all for us, that we don’t have to do anything except believe He did it all for us and accept Him as our Savior. Thus, millions today have been led to believe that God imputes Jesus’ righteousness to us, counting us as righteous because of His righteousness, while we continue sinning. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Jesus did not live a good life for us, in our stead. We are not excused from keeping God’s commandments, striving to live a righteous life, overcoming and growing in spiritual character.
Is the law of God good (Rom. 7:12)? Is it just and holy same verse?
COMMENT: The law is the way to peace, to happiness, to joy. It is God’s greatest gift to mankind, given to make man happy, to lead him into the full, abundant life, to protect his happiness and lead him into eternal life. The evil results are not caused by the law, but by the breaking of it!
How did Jesus sum up God’s law (Matt. 22:36-40)? In what one word can God’s law and the keeping of it be summed up (John 14:15; 15:9-10; II John 5-6; Rom. 13:8-10)?
COMMENT: The whole spiritual intent and purpose of the law is love. Jesus showed that God’s law has two basic aspects to it: The first is to show us how to love God, which is the basic intent of the first four of the Ten Commandments. The second is to show us how to love our neighbor, our fellow human beings. The last six of the Ten Commandments teach us how to do this.
Is God’s law like a mirror which reflects our sins back to us (James 1:22-25; Rom. 7:7)? Does keeping the law result in blessings (James 1:25, last part)?
COMMENT: The law of God is a spiritual mirror into which one may look to find and see clearly the spiritual dirt(sin) on one’s mind and heart. The mirror is not responsible for the presence of the dirt, or for the harm the dirt may cause. The function of the mirror the law - is to show the dirt, so that you may do something about it (repent of sin and become cleansed by Christ’s blood) and thus become genuinely free from fears, from misery, from penalties of every kind, and free from bondage to the devil’s way.
Does God promise material blessings for those who keep His law (Deut 28:1-14; Lev. 26:1-13)?
COMMENT: We cannot necessarily expect God to make us wealthy, but we certainly can expect Him to provide for all our necessities, and perhaps even add a few luxuries as we are able to handle them, as we strive to please Him.
What other great benefits do we derive from obeying the laws of God (Ps. 19:7-11; 119:165)?
EVERYONE COMMANDED TO REPENT!
Six hundred years before Christ, what was God’s warning to the nation of Israel as given through His prophet Ezekiel (Ezk. 33:7-9)? Whose way were the people to turn from in repentance (vs. 9, 11; Prov. 14:12; 28:26)?
COMMENT: The ancient Israelites did that which was right in their own eyes because they were motivated by their natural, disobedient minds (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 8:7-8)? They did not have God’s Spirit within them which would have enabled them to resist Satan and to obey God. This was because the Holy Spirit was not generally available in Old Testament times.
Ancient Israel’s terrible example is a lesson to us who can receive the Holy Spirit. By possessing the Holy Spirit, we can bring forth the “fruit of the Spirit” enumerated in Gal. 5:22-23. But without the Holy Spirit, we as did they -- bring forth the fruits called the “works of the flesh.” Some of these “works” are listed in Gal. 5:19-21. All are transgressions of God’s holy, righteous spiritual law.
Mankind today is still learning the hard way by experiencing these “works,” or results, of doing what comes naturally.
Only a few decades later, did God use Zechariah to reiterate the same call to repentance (Zech. 1:2-4)?
What message did God commission the prophet John to proclaim to Judea (Matt. 3:1-8)? Notice especially verses 2, 8.Also see Acts 19:4.
What was Jesus’ message from the beginning of His ministry (Mark 1:14-15)? Did He personally command all of His hearers to repent (Matt. 4:17; Luke 13:1-5)?
Did Christ say repentance would be preached among all nations (Luke 24:47)?
When the Holy Spirit came on that memorable Day of Pentecost as Jesus had promised it would (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5), what message did God inspire Peter to preach to the multitudes gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2:37-38; 3:19)?
COMMENT: The same proclamation to repent is just as vital a message for God’s Church in this age. What Peter commanded his listeners to do is what God commands us to do today!
Does the Bible show there are no exceptions, that all have sins of which they must repent (I John 1:8-10; 5:19; Rom. 3:23; 5:12; I Kings 8:46; Eccl. 7:20)?
Does God specially command all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30)?
But if anyone chooses to remain in an unrepentant attitude, what does he lay up for himself (Rom. 2:5)? What is Jesus’ solemn warning to those who will never repent (Luke 13:3, 5)? What will be their ultimate fate unless they do repent (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:15)?
BEWARE OF FALSE REPENTANCE
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking repentance as a necessary step to salvation. Don’t assume that you can be made right with God by some man-devised method which is falsely called “repentance.”
Repentance is not only a matter of feeling. It is not just a matter of stirring up one’s emotions. It is a matter of heart and mind as well as emotion. It is a heartfelt realization that you have thought, spoken, and lived contrary to God’s spiritual laws and that you should quit doing so!
Can people actually worship Christ, acknowledge that He is “Lord,” and yet not enter His Kingdom (Matt. 7:21)? How else can one worship Him, and yet not be born of God at Christ’s coming (Matt. 15:7-9)? Then who will enter God’s Kingdom (Matt. 7:21, last part)?
COMMENT: Listen to what else Jesus said about people who want to worship Him without obedience to God’s commands: “Howbeit in vain to they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men. Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition (Mark 7:7-9).
Man would rather do almost anything else than surrender himself to God. His natural mind (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 8:7-8) rebels at the thought of submitting to God’s law. Therefore men have substituted their own laws and customs for God’s commandments, thinking they can still receive salvation by only believing in Christ as their Savior.
Clearly, no amount of human works can bring about the forgiveness of sin. Even the great sacrificial laws of the Old Testament could not bring about forgiveness and a clear conscience. They were only a type looking forward to the supreme sacrifice for sin Jesus Christ who was to come much later (Heb. 9:9-14; 10:4:10).
There is simply no way we can “make up” for our sins. Beads, indulgences, penance, fastings, or afflicting one’s flesh in some other way will not erase the guilt of sin either. You cannot punish yourself for sin, and thus avoid God’s punishment. Only the sacrifice of Christ can pay that ultimate penalty. And the only way that sacrifice can be applied to blot out your sins is by accepting it and forsaking your past life of disobedience, by repentance!
Just what does Isaiah 64:6 say about “our righteousness”? And what did Jesus say about those who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous” (Luke 18:9-14)?
COMMENT Many people profess to be religious, they attend churches, they have a “form of godliness.” But, as these verses plainly show, they partake of the very attitudes and practices that have made this present world evil. This is not the repentance God commands. God requires a complete reversal in the direction each one of us has been going. In other words, total repentance of following the ways that seem right to human conscience, and a complete turning around to begin following the way of God as revealed in the Bible.
What else does God have to say concerning this present evil world we have all had a part in (I John 2:15-17; Rom. 12:2)?
COMMENT: Here is the very starting point on the way to salvation. God commands us to come out of this world and forsake its wrong ways. No longer being conformed to its ways which are contrary to God’s way, we are to become like Christ by allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our minds.
What is the end result of this world’s kind of sorrow, or “repentance” (II Cor. 7:10, last part)? But what kind of sorrow for sin does God accept, and where does it lead (v. 9 and first part of verse 10)?
COMMENT: It is commonly believed that a temporary remorseful feeling over past mistakes, without a real “turning” and “change,” and beginning to grow in Godly character is all there is to being “saved.” God says such “repentance” is totally unacceptable and leads only to death!
Repentance is something far more than an “experience.” True repentance “Godly sorrow”-- involves a complete about face in our thinking and being, as well as a change of allegiance.
THE CONVERSION OF MOSES
To what kind of man does God say He will look with favor, one who is humble and meek (Isa. 66:2; Ps. 25:9)?
What kind of man was Moses (Num. 12:3)? Knowing what kind of man Moses was, what did God have in mind to do with him because of Israel’s disobedience (Ex. 32:9-10)?
Did Moses succumb to vanity (as most of us would have done) when God said, “I will make of thee a great nation”? What was his reaction (Ex. 32:11-13)? Was he actually responsible for causing God to change His mind (vs. 14)? Did Moses go around trying to elevate himself above others (Num. 11:27-29; 16:3-5)?
COMMENT: Meekness is not necessarily synonymous with weakness, but meekness definitely is the opposite of arrogance. It is the attitude of a repentant mind. Moses was very meek, but he decidedly was not weak. Moses was strong, both physically and spiritually.
The converted Moses was more concerned for the good of others than for self. Above all, he was concerned for God’s Holy Name. His life, in general, was truly God centered (Num. 14:11-20).
But had Moses always been meek and humble? Or had he formerly been filled with vanity and self-assertion (Ex. 2:11-14)? Did Moses at first think he could deliver Israel by his own power (Acts 7:23-25)? What did God have to do to humble him (vs. 26-30)?
COMMENT: Moses was trained in all the learning of Egypt and was a member of Pharaoh’s court. He was the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter (Acts 7:20-21; Ex. 2:10), and was “mighty in words and in deeds” (Acts 7:22).
But God then began to deal with Moses’ arrogance. Moses, in the height of his pride and glory, was struck down. It was God who forced his flight into the wilderness to bring about Moses’ conversion. There, for forty years, he was trained under authority by a man who apparently really knew the true God (Ex. 2:15-1; all of chapter 18).
When Moses became meek and humble, God showed him that he could, after all, succeed in delivering Israel. But he would have to do it by God’s power, not his own! All of us must also, at some point in our lives, come to realize our own utter insignificance and need to totally rely on God, as did Moses, Job, Daniel, Paul and other similar examples recorded in the Bible.
KING DAVID’S HEARTFELT REPENTANCE
Ancient King David is a chief example of one who deeply repented of his sins. One specific example of his sins is probably better known than all the rest. David lusted after Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his military officers. He committed adultery with her. This illicit act resulted in her pregnancy. Then, in an effort to avert suspicion from himself, he attempted to try to make it appear that Uriah was the father (see II Sam. 11).
Failing in this, David had Uriah placed in the front line of battle and deliberately deserted by the army to make certain he would be killed. Thus David became a murderer in God’s sight (II Sam. 12:9). David had sinned very greatly.
But once he came to his senses and realized the gravity of what he had done, he repented of these sins, confessing his guilt: “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord” (v. 13). David’s sincere, heartfelt repentant attitude endeared him to God. Psalm 51 shows David’s utterly broken-up attitude about his sins. (Be sure to read this entire Psalm.)
Did David attempt to justify his sins or to explain them away? Or did he freely confess them (Ps. 51:1-3)?
What did David beseech God to do for him (vs. 2, 7) Compare with Isa. 1:16-18.
COMMENT: Hyssop, a small plant or shrub with sponge or brush-like qualities, was a “tool” often used in ceremonies using sprinkled or dabbed blood (Lev. 14:4-7; Ex. 12:22) to portray forgiveness. Thus David was asking God for spiritual cleansing and forgiveness.
Did David admit that he was guilty of many sins (v. 9)? Did he admit that his heart (attitude) had not been right with God (v. 10)?
Did David thoroughly abhor his sins (v.3). Did he cast himself upon God’s mercy (v. 1)?
COMMENT: David did not minimize his sin. He did not attempt to justify it. Nor did he blame it on others. Rather, he was aghast at what he had done and simply prostrated himself before God and implored His mercy and forgiveness. He made no attempt to “explain it away.” He confessed what he had done, what he was, and asked God to clean him up totally.
David was one of the few people of the Old Testament times to whom God gave the Holy Spirit (vs. 10-11; I Sam. 16:13), for the Holy Spirit was not yet made available (John 7:38-39) except in special circumstances. David obeyed God and overcame by the power of the Holy Spirit, even though at times he did stumble and fall. “For a just (righteous) man falleth seven times, and riseth up again” (Ps. 24:16)?
So David a man after God’s own heart -- is soon, at Christ’s coming -- to be resurrected and born into God’s Kingdom as a son of God, and be King over Israel (Jer. 30:9).
HAVE YOU REALLY REPENTED?
Have you come to the point in your life where you want to give up walking contrary to God and His laws, and surrender yourself completely to Him? Have you “sized yourself up” by means of the Ten Commandments, as magnified by the entirety of God’s Word, and seen where you fall short? Are you willing to keep all of God’s spiritual laws?
The apostle Paul tells us, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith: prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ (through the Holy Spirit) is (living) in you, except ye be reprobates” (II Cor. 13:5)? John told the Pharisees and Sadducees, “bring forth therefore fruits meet (fit to show) for repentance” (Matt. 3:8).
How can you examine- prove- your own self? By comparing your life, thoughts, words and actions with the Word of God. Check the fruits of your life! “By their fruits ye shall know them,” Christ said (Matt. 7:20).Does your life reveal the fruits of having the Holy Spirit in you, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, temperance (self-control) (Gal. 5:22-23)?
True repentance requires a permanent change of direction. It is a total commitment to a course from which there is no turning back. It is not a temporary sawdust-trail, tear-jerking emotional response. You have learned that it is something much deeper and vastly more profound! Have you really repented?