My dear brothers and sisters;
I ask the Father of mercies, in the name of Jesus, His Son, that He pours upon us His mercies, and gives us a heart of repentance toward Him, for such a heart is one of great value before Him.
Have you wondered if there was a relationship between confessing the Lord Jesus, and repentance? If there is one, what is it? Are they synonymous? Does one come before the other? If yes, which one? “Must” one come before the other? In Acts, the Apostle Paul summarized in ministry as follows:
Acts 20:21 – I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus.
I submit to you that having faith in Jesus necessitates that you have confessed Him as Lord. I also submit to you that your confession is only valid if you have repented toward God first. One must first repent before their confession of Jesus as Lord can be considered valid.
On the day the Church was born (on the day of Pentecost), after Peter explained to the assembly what they had just witnessed – the disciples speaking in tongues – they were deeply hurt because he had testified that Jesus, whom the Jews had crucified, was indeed the messiah and was now resurrected and glorified.
Acts 2:37 – When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what should we do?”
But now look at the response Peter gave when they asked “Brothers, what should we do?”
Acts 2:38 – Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We can glean at least two elements in Peter’s response.
Anyone can repent, at any time: God protects a man’s ability to repent
Peter instructed the people to repent, and he expected them to do it on the spot. In other words, repentance can be done immediately, and without the Holy Spirit. It is a God given ability, an ability that He protect so that anyone can be saved. Neither the Devil, the Angels or any other creatures can steal or nullify this ability.
Repentance emanates from a deep conviction that you are personally responsible and guilty of murdering Jesus, the Son of God, who, being sinless, did not deserve to die.
Jesus did not simply die FOR you.
Jesus died BECAUSE of you. YOU have the blood of Jesus in your hands. YOU are guilty. YOU are a murderer.
Unless one is deeply convicted of this truth, one cannot truly repent. And unless one repents, one cannot be forgiven of his crime.
One MUST repent before he can be forgiven of their sins
From the response, we also see that repentance is a necessary condition for receiving the forgiveness of your sins. How can one be forgiven unless he 1) is made fully aware of his crime, and 2) acknowledges his crime, and 3) seeks grace for his crime? This is the process of repentance, a process that Peter, through His preaching that day, enabled in the people who were present that day. The people indeed did rightfully ask:
“Brothers, what should we do?”
Answer: “Now that I have made you fully aware of your crime of your charge, you must acknowledge it as true. Then you should seek grace from the great Judge, and He will forgive you.”
Many who have confessed Jesus as Lord never got saved
Romans 10:9,10 – If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
I submit to you that this passage must be understood in light of the account of the day of Pentecost.
Confession of Jesus as Lord necessitates that repentance has taken place first. One must first repent toward God. One must first acknowledge his state as guilty of murder before God. The one YOU once murdered is now ALIVE. He is LORD. How can you expect that your recognition of His Lordship (He is LORD) will be judged valid, genuine, unless you have first repented of your crime toward Him?
Hence, we conclude that your confession is invalid without true repentance. You are still in your sins. You are still dead.
But to those who have indeed repented, and confessed Jesus as Lord, a new call, a shout from heaven has been issued: Bring forth fruits Worthy of Repentance!
In Jesus Name. AMEN.