There are two kinds of repentance. The first, and perhaps the most important, is REPENTANCE TO LIFE. The second kind of repentance, is REPENTANCE TO FORGIVENESS.
Usually the term repent, or repentance, is referring to the action necessary before a person can be born-again of the Spirit of God, that is, the REPENTANCE TO LIFE. Jesus preached repentance, and commanded that we should preach it. Luke 24:47 says,"...repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Most of the scripture references below refer to this kind of repentance.
You can find an example of the second kind of repentance in Luke 17:3,4 " Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, "I repent," you shall forgive him." In general, we can say that this second type, REPENTANCE TO FORGIVENESS, refers to the need to repent of sins, that have been committed against other people.
You can check out the things, which are stated on this page, in the Bible itself, by going to Bible Search You can search about 60 different Bibles at that site. We recommend that you select the New King James Version. We believe that the NKJV is the most accurate of the popular, easy to read, Bibles.
Here are some of the things that the Bible says about true Christians:
" Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; Old things have passed away; Behold, all things have become new. "
2 Corinthians 5:17
" Jesus ... said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, ( A better translation is born from above. ) he cannot see the kingdom of God. "
" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. "
The key to going to heaven, rather than hell, is to repent. Repent is the English translation of the Greek word μετανοησατε. To repent means to " have another mind ", or " have a different mind ".
John the Baptist preached repentance:
Jesus preached repentance:
Peter and the other apostles preached repentance:
2 Peter 3:9
The Apostle Paul preached repentance:
2 Corinthians 7:8-11
2 Corinthians 12:20-21
2 Timothy 2:24-26
Repentance is commanded in the book of Revelation:
Why do some say that you don't need to repent? The answer lies in a lack of understanding, concerning the writings of the Apostle John, and also, proof texting, ie. picking out verses here and there, that seem to teach salvation apart from repentance.
The reason that the Apostle John's writings were so different than Matthew, Mark, and Luke, is that John's writings took place at least 20 years later. John's writings were primarily written for his followers,- those to whom he frequently referred to as " his little children ". The Holy Spirit moved John to write, filling in information that was missing in the synoptic gospels, not to introduce a new doctrine. Beginning with the gospel of John, is a good place to start. The most important things to consider are " What did Jesus say? ", and " What did He tell us to preach? "
When we were born, we were created to be able to look out for ourselves. It had to be that way, in order for us to survive. But, when confronted with the teachings in the New Testament, we are told that we need to repent ( have another mind ) about things. That means to surrender all of our selfishness, all of our desires, all of our plans to God. To be born-again, or born of God, we need to surrender the control of our lives to God, knowing that He will take better care of us, than we would take care of ourselves.
The new birth is something that only God can give us. As Jesus said in John chapter 3, we need to be " born of the Spirit ". That is what we need to pray for. No preacher, including those here at the Mexico Beach Christian Worship Center, can give that to you. It isn't a special prayer. It is simply a sincere prayer telling God that you would like to surrender control of your life to Him, and to live as He directs you to live. We urge people to pray this kind of prayer, when they are alone, and only God can hear it. We recommend saying, " God, please change me. Please give me the spiritual birth. Please make me into the kind of person that You want me to be ".
Baptism is a picture of the New Birth. The going down under the water symbolizes the death, and burial, of the old, self-serving life. The rising up out of the water symbolizes the beginning of the new life, as a truly new creation, one born of God. Many people go through ceremonies,- the sinner's prayer, walking the aisle, joining a church, or baptism, without actually experiencing the death of the old life, and the beginning of a new life, in service to God.
Some people believe that being " born of water " means being baptized, but if you look closely at all that Jesus said in John chapter 3, you find that being " born of water " is simply being born, as human beings are normally born, from a water environment,- the " bag of water " in their mother's womb. Jesus contrasts the natural birth with the spiritual birth,- the birth that only God can provide.
The following scripture will help you determine if you are a professing Christian, or a true Christian. Are these verses describing what you were, or what you still are?
" Do you not know, that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. "
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
A professing Christian is no different from the typical person of the world. Churches are full of professing christians. The Crusaders were professing Christians. not real Christians, which is one reason why we have problems with the Muslims today.
A true Christian is different from other people. A true Christian is a newly created being. Non Christians don't understand this. Real Christians are people, who have been changed by God from the inside out,- given new hearts and new human spirits. Yes, they look the same as other people, but their hearts and spirits have been changed by God. ( See Jeremiah 31:31-34 and elsewhere. ) Once changed by God, they have different goals and desires.
To demonstrate this inner change, a person is should be baptized, by immersion, in water. The act of baptism doesn't change. or " save " a person. It is the miracle of being born of God, that makes a person a new creation.
This description of conversion is consistent with the Old Testament teaching about the New Covenant. ( New Testament ) You can find it in Jeremiah 31:31-34, Jeremiah 32:38-40, Ezekiel 11:19-20, Ezekiel 18:30-32, and Ezekiel 36:24-27. Only God can bring about this change in the inner person. Attempts to bring about this change by human means, human acts, church ceremonies, etc. are futile. They often create an impression that people have been converted, when in fact, their hearts, and spirits, are still unchanged. Their desires are still evil, and they give Christianity a bad name.
People are not " born-again " or converted by good works, which they do. The Bible says that all our righteousness is as " filthy rags ", and that all of us have sinned. So much for the view, often held by those in law enforcement, that there are " good people " and " bad people ". All people have sinned. All police officers have sinned. All lawyers, and judges, and politicians, and all members of the clergy have sinned. True Christians leave their sinful pasts behind, and always try to do what is right in the eyes of God. The Bible also says in Titus 3:5
" not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. "
Good works are not what gets us into heaven. It is the work of God that allows a person to escape hell and go to heaven. Good works are a testimony to others ( and ourselves ) that something has happened within us to make us a new kind of person. When people are not living Godly lifestyles, it is a strong indication that no matter what they profess to be, they are still pagans, living in sin.
So, you ask, how can a person be born-again, changed, converted, or whatever name you want to give it? First, you need to recognize the hopelessness of the condition you are in. You may have gone to church every time the doors were open, gone through all the ceremonies, and joined the church. But, if God hasn't changed you, you are still just as lost as the worst person on earth. If you have tried to reform yourself and " live a better life " you know that that doesn't work. You need help that only God can provide.
To get God to change you, you need to go to Him in prayer. He is waiting eagerly to hear from you. Talking to God, when you are alone, is best. Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't good enough to talk to God.
God wants to hear from you,- just as you are! That way it is just you and Him. That way there is no pressure from a public invitation in a church, or your relatives, or your friends, or anyone else. That way, there is no distraction. God knows every sin that you have ever committed, and that He is the only one who can help you. He loves you, but He doesn't love your sin. He wants to give you the power to turn away from your life of sin ( repent ), and to change you. That is why He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for your sins on that cross, many years ago.
After you have asked God to change your heart, and you know that you have been changed, it is important to tell others what God has done for you. Jesus said, " ...whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. " ( Matthew 10:32-33 ) Being baptized by immersion in water, is a part of that confession.
God is waiting for you. He wants to give you two gifts. First of all, He wants to give you a new spiritual life. His Son, Jesus Christ died for you on that cross, many years ago, otherwise, this would be impossible. That is why we say that Jesus is our Savior. Second, He wants to baptize you with His Holy Spirit, and give you the power to live your new life, and to be a witness for Him. You can't be a silent Christian. You must not be ashamed of what God has done for you.
If we can help, e-mail us, or visit us.
Our Sunday AM services are being held at the Mexico Beach Civic Center. In accordance with federal laws, we have permission to use this heated, and air conditioned, facility on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM central time. We begin with a short time of greeting and fellowship, and then TJ leads us in worship. After the service we have holy communion, a time when people can request prayer, especially for healing, and sometimes, a pot luck luncheon.
The Mexico Beach Civic Center is located at 105 N. 31st Street. It is the white building with the dark green roof, which is just behind that new Mexico Beach restaurant, Mango Marley's. It is behind Parker Realty, and is on the northeast side of Rte 98. It is about 7/10 mile south of the Mexico Beach Welcome Center. For a map showing the location of the Mexico Beach Civic Center, click below the photo:
Mexico Beach Civic Center
Map of Civic Center Area
Have a wonderful week. May God bless you, and your family!
Would you like to know more about the return of Jesus Christ? Check out this page: Jesus Is Coming Soon!