Repentance, a very foundational doctrine of the Kingdom of God, must be dealt with if there is going to be anyone truly converted and able to grow to maturity in Christ.
To neglect the doctrine of repentance, and jump ahead to the other principles of the Word of God would be like taking a broken down car with an engine that had failed long ago, restoring it completely on the outside, but not doing a thing to the engine. To someone who saw it, it might look like a brand new car, but there would be no change on the “inside.” It would not crank, run, or drive.
Repentance is what gets God's attention, and then, looking to Christ to save us, He sends the power of His Spirit into our life (the brand new engine). Not only do we look new, but we ARE new. Not only is all of the ugly junk of our past washed away, but we have an anointing to live a brand new life of victory and power. Why? Because the weight of sin was washed away by the precious blood of Christ!
I believe the first principle of repentance that we must understand is that it is not just saying “I am sorry that I have sinned against God and my fellow man.” Many people say they are sorry, but shortly after they have claimed to be sorry continue to DO what they have done all along. This is not truly repentance. To say that one is sorry for their sins is a step in the right direction, but alone is not repentance.
Many scriptures actually talk about making amends, making restitution where it is possible, before we even consider “bringing our gift to the altar.”
It is one thing for a thief to say that he is sorry that he stole your diamond ring. It is quite another for him to give the diamond ring back, or if that is not possible, to pay you back what it is worth.
In Luke 19, we read of a man named Zacchaeus. He was a tax collector, a very rich one. He was very excited to see that Jesus was passing by. He was a short man, so he climbed up in a tree to be able to see Jesus as the crowds passed by. As Jesus passed by, He took notice of Zacchaeus, and told him to come down from the tree, because He wanted to pay a visit to his house. Excitedly and joyfully, Zacchaeus came down, and took Jesus to his house.
Everyone complained about Jesus, because He went to be a guest at the “house of a sinner.” But Jesus, as usual, did not care what they thought. When Jesus came in, Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give unto the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (see Luke 19:8-10)
This man demonstrated that his repentance was genuine by what he was willing to DO. As a result, Jesus declared salvation to his house. When we show God that we are truly willing to repent, as Zacchaeus did, making right our wrongs not only with words but with every possible and necessary action, the Lord's salvation will come to our house as well.
Is there anything in your life that the Spirit of the Lord would have you to make right? Do so, knowing by faith you will be instantly restored the joy and the peace that only Jesus Christ can offer you.
Isaac Prather is pastor of Miracle Prayer Center and may be contacted at DestinRevival@rocketmail.com.