Thursday, March 21, 2013

Repentance: A Process, Not An Event

Repentance: An Introduction

All throughout the books that we call scriptures there are accounts of people, cities, and nations being called unto repentance. We can see the difference between the way the Lord responded to those who repented and those who didn't. But in today's world we find that many people don't truly understand what it means to repent. What exactly is repenting and how do we move on? Is it simply asking for forgiveness of our past mistakes or is it something more than that?

First off: Why repent? 

Why should we repent? Why isn't our best effort on it's own enough? I know that no matter how hard I try to be the best person I can be that I have weaknesses and I simply cannot perfect myself of my own accord. So what is the point of life if we are all doomed to be imperfect? Christ once again has the answer to this question of the soul. In The Book of Mormon Christ appears to the people in the Americas and teaches them, and while there, He poses a question to the people. He simply asks "...what manner of men ought ye to be?" (3 Nephi 27:27). Directly after posing the question, without waiting for a response he gives His answer: "Verily I say unto you, even as I am." That is a tall request. His goal for us is to become like He is, perfect and like His Father. 

That is the main basis of why we repent. We wish to be like our Savior and he as commanded us to be perfect. He loves us and because He loves us we are able to have love for Him (1 John 4:19). He proclaimed "If ye love me, keep my commandments"(John 14:15). How can we show our love for Him if we aren't willing to follow the counsel from his hand to become perfect like Him? The scriptures show us all the things we should do and when we put them together we can find the way to do all things. 

Second: What is Repentance and How is it accomplished?

Now that we know why we need to repent, next comes the all important questions of 'How?' and 'Why?'. Is repenting simply asking for forgiveness or is it something more than that? I have come to know through my study and life experience that repentance is much much more than simply saying 'Forgive me'. The Lord has said "if a man repenteth of his sins - behold, he shall confess them and forsake them" (Doctrine and Covenants 58:43). We cannot truly say that we have repented if there is no change in behavior or a shift from our old ways. Repentance is always coupled with a change of heart, we can know that we are achieving true repentance when "we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually" (Mosiah 5:2). When repentance happens we are putting aside our will and doing as Christ did and saying "not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). When our lives are in line with what the lord wants us to do we will be happy. The Lord wants us to be strong and to be able to, through his support move forward with our lives as we try to be like Him. A favorite verse, of many, in the Book of Mormon is in Ether 12:27. It reads:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

What a comfort to me is the promise that as I do my best I can find the strength in the Lord to repent and overcome trials in my life. I know that I have had weaknesses strengthened and temptations overcome through His grace. It is my prayer that we can all rely on the Lord as we try to follow His counsel to be perfect as He is. I love the Lord and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Him. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

1 comment:


    Is repentance a necessary act that is required by men for salvation or are men saved by "faith only?"

    Acts 17:30-31 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

    People should repent because God commanded it and because all men will stand before Jesus on Judgment Day.

    Luke 24:47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

    People should repent for the forgiveness of their sins. On the Day of Pentecost, in Jerusalem, men were required to repent in order to have their sins forgiven. They needed to make the commitment to turn from sin and turn toward God. Yes, they needed to repent in order to be saved. (Acts 2:38)

    Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.

    Men need to repent in order to not experience the wrath of God. A stubborn and unrepentant heart can make men reluctant to believe what Jesus said "and has been baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16) Shall be saved; follows water baptism and belief.

    2 Corinthians 7:10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

    People should repent because it leads to salvation.

    2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    All people should repent in order not to perish. Contrary to Calvinist teaching God wants all men to repent.

    Luke 13:2-3 And Jesus said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? 3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will likewise perish.

    People should repent because Jesus said "repent or perish."

    Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    All men should repent so that they can have their sins forgiven and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    It men believe (John 3:16), confess (Romans 10:9-10), repent (Acts 3:19) and are baptized in water (Acts 2:38) then they are saved. It can take 2 hrs more or less.

    Repentance does not stop at water baptism. You also need to repent after you become a Christian.


    Galatians 5:19-21 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.