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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What Does Repentance Mean and How Important Is It?

“Repentance isn’t behavioural modification; it’s relational restoration.

— Sy Rogers

When I awakened to the sin,

Of the life I was in,

That was the cherished moment of arrival,

That moment the Father said,

“Come home to your bed,”

And that was my very survival.

THOSE who have repented of their rebellion against God have done so for their very spiritual survival.

Oh, how we get God confused with very human fathers! Those of us who are fathers know what this is all about – we were known for our anger and lack of patience, or for our apathy, or for some other lack. We are all too human. But praise God that the Father is every bit the perfect Daddy we need.

Repentance is not about harsh scolding. It is very much the opposite; of coming to our senses and turning about-face and coming home to the victory song called redemption and to the party in the name of restoration.

When I awakened to my sin, the Father brought me to two places at once. He woke me up and then he dressed in clothes fit to wear home. No judgment nor condemnation. Just the desire to see me restored.

Anticipation of home was just the beginning. On my way there I enjoyed the thought that a new future lay waiting there for me. I hardly knew it, but I was already restored, having turned for home.

Repentance is the decision to turn. With the will to turn and to do what needs to be done, with all this new energy, having been awakened, we turn and do not look back. The reason repentance is so alluring (for all the right reasons) is there’s no shame about it. We are dealing with God and the Lord of Glory treats us with the dignity we hardly feel we deserve. But he bequests to us, favour.

This is what repentance means: to wake up and turn back and to enjoy that fear-free life of restoration, living God’s best, with the ability to turn again and again back to God. Repentance is a skill of the consciousness piqued to one’s own morality, day after day, motivated positively to act.

Repentance is critically important in the life of the person who follows God. It is the one and only prerequisite in saying “yes” to Jesus. We cannot do the will of God without repenting.


Redeemed and restored to God, having repented, which is to wake up and turn back, we can live life to the full. Repentance is the first choice for life. The second choice is to live. Discerning and doing the will of God; that is our twofold purpose. Life gets no simpler.

© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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