The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
I have tried and tried to repent, but somehow couldn't bring myself to do it. Why? What's the matter with me? Why can't I seem to bring myself to the state of real repentance? W. D., Seattle
What about you? Have you, also, had this individual's problem? Have you seemingly come up to a stone wall when it comes to repentance? There is a reason. Very few understand it! No man, of his own accord, can come to real heartfelt repentance! Only God can enable a man to see his true condition, his spiritual WEAKNESS and his rebellion and carnality, and BRING a man to sincere repentance! Notice the truth! "Then hath God also to the Gentiles GRANTED REPENTANCE unto life," the apostle Peter said (Acts 11:18). It is "... the goodness of GOD that leadeth thee to repentance," said the apostle Paul (Rom. 2:4). "No man CAN come to me, except the Father which hath sent me DRAW HIM... " said Jesus Christ Himself (John 6:44). "All that the Father GIVETH me shall come to me... "He also said (verse 37). And again, "... Therefore said I unto you, that no man CAN come unto me, except it were GIVEN unto him of my Father" (verse 65). Human nature simply refuses to acknowledge the truth — to admit to itself what it really is! Human beings cannot bring THEMSELVES to real repentance. Human nature is UNWILLING to admit what a "mess" it really IS! It steadfastly RESISTS the truth of God — it is HOSTILE toward real repentance! It struggles and fights against real surrender to God all along the line! It is not willing to yield to the AUTHORITY and GOVERNMENT of God! Repenting of sin and turning to God is the BIGGEST single decision a man can make in his life! It is more important than any physical decision — it is a SPIRITUAL DECISION which will involve your ENTIRE LIFE! It is not something to be entered into hastily, without a great deal of forethought and deep consideration. It is not something "here today, gone tomorrow." It is not something which "snap judgment" can bring about. It deserves REAL thought, meditation, study, prayer, and solemn, sober consideration. Jesus said, "For which of you, Intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and COUNTETH THE COST, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to FINISH" (Luke 14:28-30). THINK about it! Count the cost! What IS the cost? It costs YOUR LIFE — LITERALLY! "SO likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not ALL that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (verse 33). Those who REFUSE to repent, Jesus said, will PERISH! Those who refuse to heed the calling of God will die — for the wages of sin is DEATH (Rom. 6:23). But those who totally turn to God, TRULY REPENT and change their ways, will LIVE — will inherit everlasting life and the Kingdom of God, and will REIGN with Jesus Christ forever! (Rom. 8:17.) Now do you see? Repentance is the most important decision in your life — yet, it is totally contrary to your human nature. No wonder you found it difficult to really repent! That is why genuine repentance before God is so rare. It is an attitude of heart and mind which God Himself makes possible. You don't "work it up" yourself. You don't "put it on" like a new suit of clothes, or a new dress. It's not just an emotion you work up. True repentance is a GIFT. ASK God for it. Pray for Him to open your mind to see yourself as you really are and to be willing to forsake all your past sins. Sin, remember, is the transgression of God's spiritual law — the Ten Commandments (I John 3:4). No one has truly repented unless and until he abhors himself. And only God can lead a man to see his human nature as it really is. Go to Him for the real spirit of godly repentance, which leads to everlasting life and SALVATION (II Cor. 7:9-11). This is the way to come to real, thorough, tried and true repentance. This is GOD'S WAY. If you really want to repent, go to Him in earnest prayer and ASK for the attitude and spirit of REAL repentance. Then do it! Don't procrastinate!