The Bible says, “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance”  (Luke 15:7).

The clear trumpet blast calling men and women to repentance is conspicuous for its absence from the modern pulpit.  We have preached the dignity of humanity instead of our depravity.  We have declared our goodness rather than our wickedness.  We have vindicated ourselves rather than confessed our guilt.  We have made of ourselves, despite all of our inherent sin and evil, little cherubs of perfection with halos on our heads, harps in our hands and wings on our shoulders.  Gone is the mourner’s bench; gone are the tear-stained cheeks of godly sorrow for sin; and gone is the joy in Heaven over wanderers returning to the Father’s house.

None of us wants to accept blame for our sins.  But either the Bible is wrong or we are wrong.  When we look at the fruits of this unrepentant generation, I am convinced that we need to blow a loud blast on the trumpet of Biblical repentance.

What is repentance?  We might do well to notice first what it is not.  First, repentance is not penance.  Penance is the voluntary suffering of punishment for sin and does not necessarily involve a change of character or conduct.  Second, repentance is not remorse.  Judas was remorseful over his sin of betrayal of the Son of God, but his shallow regret led to suicide instead of to God, because remorse is not true repentance.  Third, repentance is not self-condemnation.  You may hate yourself for your sinfulness, but self-condemnation only opens wider the wounds of guilt and despair.  We should hate our sins, not ourselves.

Then what is repentance?  Repentance is not a word of weakness but a word of power and action.  It is not a self-effacing emotion, but a word of heroic resolve.  It is an act that breaks the chains of captive sinners and sets Heaven to singing.

Have you repented?  Have you changed?  Is your life different from how it used to be?  God’s commands to repent are not capricious.  It is not that He wants to see people groveling in subjection before Him.  In His imperative call for people to repent, He has their welfare and happiness as His motive.  “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.”  Repentance is a necessary step to salvation.

There is forgiveness, but it can only be found at the foot of the cross, where Christ died for our sins.  “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  (Acts 3:19.)

Borrowed from Billy Graham.