THE REPENTANT HEART

rodney howard browne

So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord.  Acts 3:19 AMP

The root meaning of repentance is: a change of mind (and heart) and purpose. It is deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like. The only way to repent is to have true godly sorrow. There is a difference between regret and repentance. Some people are sorry for being caught in the act of sin, but are not repentant of the sin itself. Sin is not a weakness, an unfortunate happening, or a mistake. It is a transgression of divine law; any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle; any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, or lapse. Sin is a personal guilt—each one independently will give an account of his/her own sin.

Iniquity is gross injustice or wickedness. Some people have iniquity in their heart. Deep down on the inside, they desire to commit sin even though they have not yet done it for fear of the humiliation of being caught. Sins of the heart also require repentance. Turn to God. Acknowledge your sin and then confess your sin with godly sorrow and the gift of repentance, which only God can give you. Acts 11:18b says, “Then God has also granted to the gentiles repentance unto life.” 2 Timothy 2:25b says, “…if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.” You repent by believing God’s Word. Jonah 3:5 AMP says, “So the people of Nineveh believed in God and proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth [in penitent mourning], from the greatest of them even to the least of them.”

God’s mercy should never be taken for granted, because some things can never be changed, no matter how sorry you are afterwards. Hebrews 12:16-17 AMP says that Esau sold his birthright for a single meal. “For you understand that later on, when he wanted [to regain title to] his inheritance of the blessing, he was rejected (disqualified and set aside), for he could find no opportunity to repair by repentance [what he had done, no chance to recall the choice he had made], although he sought for it carefully with [bitter] tears.”

REPENTANCE FOR THE SINNER
1. By the preaching of the Gospel
Now when they heard this they were stung (cut) to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles (special messengers), Brethren, what shall we do? 38 And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2:37-38 AMP

2. Through the Goodness of God
Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)?  Romans 2:4 AMP

3. Remember this very important fact: God’s mercy is extended to ALL
The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9 AMP

REPENTANCE FOR THE BELIEVER
1. Through God’s reproof and chastisement
For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes.  Hebrews 12:6 AMP
For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness. 11 For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness—in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].  Hebrews 12:10-11 AMP
Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].  Revelation 3:19 AMP

2. A New Vision of God
I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye sees You. 6 Therefore I loathe [my words] and abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.  Job 42:5-6 AMP

3. The Loving Reproof of a Brother
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.  2 Timothy 2:24-26 NKJV

THREE FRUITS OF REPENTANCE
1. Acknowledgement and confession of sin

2. Humility – asking God for mercy
But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am!  Luke 18:13 AMP

3. Very, very important – making restitution (or apologizing)
So then Zacchaeus stood up and solemnly declared to the Lord, See, Lord, the half of my goods I [now] give [by way of restoration] to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I [now] restore four times as much.  Luke 19:8 AMP

CONCLUSION
In order to stay in right standing with God, you must maintain a repentant heart toward Him. You must keep your heart humble and have a teachable attitude and a thankful heart. Never be self-righteous. Check your own temperature on a daily basis. Be very careful with whom you associate and whom you allow to influence you. Allow the Word of God to be your guide and the peace of God to reign in your heart. When you sin, confess immediately. Make right, accept the cleansing of the blood, and walk on. In this way, you ensure that your heart is a consistently repentant heart and is always right in the eyes of God