The Christian life is a personal intimate relationship between you and Christ. This life begins in faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and can only be lived by faith.

How Do You Know You’re Repentant?

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  • How Do You Know You’re Repentant?

    Jared C. Wilson

    How do you know when someone is repentant?

    “A few verses before Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 18 about church discipline, he provides us with help for determining whether an individual is characteristically repentant: would the person be willing to cut off a hand or tear out an eye rather than repeat the sin (Matt. 18:8-9)? That is to say, is he or she willing to do whatever it takes to fight against the sin? Repenting people, typically, are zealous about casting off their sin. That’s what God’s Spirit does inside of them. When this happens, one can expect to see a willingness to accept outside counsel. A willingness to inconvenience their schedules. A willingness to confess embarrassing things. A willingness to make financial sacrifices or lose friends or end relationships.” (p. 72)

    These are good indicators, and I believe we can add a few more.

    Here are 12 signs we have a genuinely repentant heart:

    1. We name our sin as sin and do not spin it or excuse it, and further, we demonstrate “godly sorrow,” which is to say, a grief chiefly about the sin itself, not just a grief about being caught or having to deal with the consequences of sin.

    2. We actually confessed before we were caught or the circumstantial consequences of our sin caught up with us.

    3. If found out, we confess immediately or very soon after and “come clean,” rather than having to have the full truth coaxed out of us. Real repentance is typically accompanied by transparency.

    4. We have a willingness and eagerness to make amends. We will do whatever it takes to make things right and to demonstrate we have changed.

    5. We are patient with those we’ve hurt or victimized, spending as much time as is required listening to them without jumping to defend ourselves.

    6. We are patient with those we’ve hurt or victimized as they process their hurt, and we don’t pressure them or “guilt” them into forgiving us.

    7. We are willing to confess our sin even in the face of serious consequences (including undergoing church discipline, having to go to jail, or having a spouse leave us).

    8. We may grieve the consequences of our sin but we do not bristle under them or resent them. We understand that sometimes our sin causes great damage to others that is not healed in the short term (or perhaps ever this side of heaven).

    9. If our sin involves addiction or a pattern of behavior, we do not neglect to seek help with a counselor, a solid twelve-step program, or even a rehabilitation center.

    10. We don’t resent gracious accountability, pastoral rebuke, or church discipline.

    11. We seek our comfort in the grace of God in Jesus Christ, not simply in being free of the consequences of our sin.

    12. We are humble and teachable.


    As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.

    – 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

    (I have put my signs in the first person plural not because it is always inappropriate to seek to gauge someone’s repentance, but because we should always be gauging our own first, and because the truly forgiving heart is interested in an offender’s repentance but isn’t inordinately set on holding up measuring sticks but holding out grace.)

  • #2
    After reading your article, I want to sharing my exprience. With the growing in age, I was very admiring when I saw some children around me were so simple and pure. But in me real life, when I wanted to be honest, what my parents said to me would call to mind,"It is very stupid to be honest because you would be cheated and despised." So I kept my dummy mask, but it really exausted me. Later I believed in God, I read God's word in the bible:" And said, truly, I say to you, if you do not have a change of heart and become like little children, you will not go into the kingdom of heaven.”(Mattew18:3)
    In the word of God, I knew that God liked the honest person. So I thought I should be an honest person according to the Word of God. When I met the people,matters and things,I always prayed to the God more and accepted God´s searching for being an honest person. Then one day, my boss told me: “Although your technology is not well in the company, I think you are very sincerely for colleague and the work. So I appreciate you, I want to pay you a higher salary.” After hearing this, I was grateful to God in my heart, and I realized that God liked one more who be an honest person. At same time we would like him.
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    • #3
      I heard a story one time about a young boy who went to church and saw a man kneeling and praying saying he repented, when the boy got home he said to his mother "too bad that man was not repentant", mom of course said "son, why do you say that", and the boy replied "he was only on one knee, repentance will bring you down to both"

      To me, I feel so nasty and ashamed for much of what I have done and I just cant live with myself, even after I know I am forgiven it still bothers me, and then to see Gods grace reflect against my shortcomings it just makes me never want those sins again, I wont lie to you I still struggle at times and fall occasionally then feel condemned which is doubt, but in the end it just brings me closer to God, it makes me run to Him like a 3 legged chicken.

      I think many confuse repentance as being a one time thing, and deliverance, repentance is not deliverance because you still have to deal with heavy temptation, I myself have been delivered from several things such as pornography, repentance is a change of mind and a turn from sin to Gods face, but the accuser still attacks our mind sometimes viciously and we all know all too well how hard some of his little attacks are, and how they seem endless at times but the key is to stand firm in Christ in His full armor.

      Study the depths of Gods love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace and soon repentance will become much much easier, sin will not be as appealing because you'll see how much God trusts you and how you don't want to do anything to violate that trust and hurt the relationship with Him, and something that really did help me is while you're being tempted ignore the temptation and say JESUS HELP ME, it sounds silly but Peter said the same thing and Christ reached down to him, plus it shows you don't want to sit there and be tempted, nor give in, and that you expect Him to come help you,,,aka faith.

      You are not repentant by completely stopping sin all at once, it takes time but you must keep trying, every time you do fall don't get discouraged or feel condemned, but draw closer and closer each time you do fall, keep asking, seeking, and knocking for deliverance from sins and eventually you will be, always remember God is always waiting as soon as you fall deeply longing for you to come running back to Him, He cant wait to forgive you.

      How do I know I am repentant, I never stop trying, nor will I ever stop.

      May Jesus bless you.
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